A recent study revealed that reading e-books, instead of traditional books, using mobile devices such as laptops and tablets before going to bed can have negative effects on a person's sleeping habit, NPR reported.
According to researchers, those who prefer to use their gadgets to read have a harder time falling asleep as compared to others who read paper-based books.
The study was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a weekly online journal that features various reports and articles on different scientific fields.
The researchers were able to come up with their findings after conducting a two-week experiment on 12 adult participants. For the first week, the participants were given traditional books to read before going to bed. During the second week, iPads that contained e-book files were provided to them.
For the duration of the study, the researchers closely monitored the brain waves, heart rate and sleeping habits of the participants. Blood samples were also regularly taken from them.
After the experiment, the researchers noted that those who read books fell asleep faster as compared to the other participants who used electronic gadgets.
According to Anne-Marie Chang, co-author of the study and a researcher at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, the light emitted by the gadgets can alter an individual's sleeping habit.
She explained that mobile devices utilize short-wavelength light. Since this has a stronger effect than natural light, it is capable of preventing the body from regularly producing melatonin, a hormone that aids sleep.
"We found that the use of these devices before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep, delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness the following morning," Chang wrote in the study.
Chang warned that having an unstable sleeping pattern may lead to other effects that are dangerous to one's health. Aside from decreased alertness and cognitive function, she noted that the lack of sleep may lead to various heart-related problems, psychiatric problems and obesity, according to Inquisitr.