Create an “Electronic Sundown”
Curling up with a book on your tablet is the perfect way to end a busy day, right? Not if you want to sleep well, experts say. The short wavelengths of light emitted by electronics can help suppress melatonin. That’s the hormone that signals to the body that the sun has gone down and helps it get ready for sleep.
“An hour or two before going to bed, switch off all electronic devices,” says Frank Lipman, M.D., the founder and the director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, in New York City, and the author of Total Renewal ($12, amazon.com). It’s possible that the closer you hold a device to your face, the more likely it is that the emitted light can interfere with your sleep, which is why tablets may be especially disruptive. And research published in the Journal of Applied Ergonomics found that spending two hours or more in front of a backlit display can suppress melatonin production by about 22 percent. What to do with the time after you pull the plugs? One good option: Relax your body and quiet your mind with a calming yoga pose, such as lotus pictured here.