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Special Report: Smartphones and laptops can disrupt sleep

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Tonight we continue a series on the science of sleep deprivation.

In this special report, Beartooth NBC's Charlie Misra looks at how technology you use every day could make it harder for you to sleep at night.

In our fast-paced, technological world, there are some devices that many of us use on a regular basis.  Televisions, computers and smartphones all emit blue light, which new research from Harvard Medical School says could hamper your sleep routine.

Kirk Kubicka, Doctor of Sleep Medicine at the Rocky Mountain Sleep Disorders Center, says the blue end of the light spectrum acts as a primary alerting system of the brain, so too much of it, can keep you awake.

Kubicka says, "Melatonin is one of the elements in shutting that down when it's time for sleep and this is why bright light around bed time perhaps blue light in particular is problematic and can delay sleep onset."

Doctor of Sleep Medicine David Anderson says exposure to blue light messes with your circadian rhythm.  That's your body's natural on/off cycle you experience if you maintain a regular schedule of sleep and wake.  He says he's seen this problem in some of his patients.

Dr. Anderson says, "Where I see it is actually people will say well they can't get to sleep. I ask 'What are you doing?' Oh, they're watching TV or working on their computer late at night."

Doctor Kubicka says in general, getting to sleep has become increasingly more difficult as years have gone on.  In this case he says, it's a matter of limiting the time you spend with the technology you use.

For more information on how blue light affects sleep, click here.


Story by Charlie Misra, Beartooth NBC.
Copyright ©2012 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.



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Kirk Kubicka, special report, Rocky Mountain Sleep Disorders Center, David Anderson, Harvard Medical School

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