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Are our gadgets a health risk?

Are our gadgets a health risk? 

Many users of mobile devices have the habit of checking emails, setting the alarm, viewing social posts, and even playing games before turning over to sleep. This habit is one that is detrimental to our health and has been proven by decades of studies.

Even going back to as early as 1958, a paper published in the Biological Bulletin revealed that blue wavelengths have the strongest effect resetting the circadian rhythm of Gonyaulax polyedra. This according to Dieter Kunz, director of the Sleep Research and Clinical Chronobiology Research Group at Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, may play a role in various tumoral diseases, diabetes, obesity and depression.

Other studies conducted since the 90s to even as recent as today have supported this finding that blue wavelengths have a negative impact on sleep with serious health consequences.

In 2014, Harvard released a study that found that people who read at night using a light-emitting e-reader took longer to fall asleep, produced less melatonin, and were less alert the next morning compared to those that read printed books.

Another study from University Hospitals Case Medical Center in 2011 found that those who slept less than six hours a night had a nearly 50 per cent increased risk of colon cancer.

How to correct this?

The best solution, as recommended by the Harvard Medical School is to stay away from your personal electronic devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches two to three hours before going to bed. For those who can’t for whatever reason, a few tech giants have come up with solutions in their software to mitigate blue light exposure.

One such company is Amazon, which has a new feature available on its Fire line of tablets called Blue Shade. By using this feature your screen will have a dull orange colour which can be refined to your liking in the settings.

The other company that has jumped on this is Apple. In its latest iOS update, Apple has added the feature to place your iPad and iPhone on Night Shift mode. To learn how to do this on your Apple device, check out the video below from CNET.

For computers, there is a software program called F.lux, which can help reduce blue light exposure by adjusting the display.


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