If we listened to all these endless health warnings, we’d only ever eat fruit and veg and drink mineral water; we’d sleep for at least seven hours a night and never take naps; we’d exercise regularly – but not too much, because even exercise wants to KILL YOU.
To be fair, this study does seem pretty spot-on when it says staring at your smartphone, tablet and/or e-reader before bed will mess you up. I’m sure you’ll join me when I say: Uh oh.
As reported on BBC News, a Harvard Medical School study shoved twelve people in a “sleep laboratory” for two weeks in order to study the effects of reading in bed at night.
In particular, the study aimed to look at the effects of reading paper-based books vs. e-books, with the iPad representing the “blue light” family of smartphones, tablets and backlit e-readers.
Ultimately, reading e-books was proven to slow production of the sleep hormone melatonin, meaning the candidates took longer to get to sleep, had less deep sleep, and showed more signs of tiredness in the morning.
Of course, logically it’s not just e-books that are to blame here. Having your face glued to Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Angry Birds - anything on a “blue light” device - is likely to have the same impact.
Not too bothered? It’s not just about feeling knackered in the morning either; there are serious health implications here.
"Sleep deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes, and cancer,” mourns lead researcher Prof Charles "Xavier" Czeisler.
"Thus, the melatonin suppression that we saw in this study among participants when they were reading from the light-emitting e-reader concerns us."
Reading a book or an old-school Kindle (or similar) by a beside lamp is cool, incidentally, since normal light bulbs don't emit that dastardly "blue light".