Do you sleep with your iPad? Stop doing that.

sleeping ipad

Are we getting too addicted to our gadgets? “Ubiquity” would be likely be something of an understatement to describe our tablet/smartphone use.

To help us think about where and when we spend our screen time, Mashable compiled some numbers into handy infographic form [see the full, super large version at: Mashable, “Late-Night Gadget Use Damages Your Sleep Cycle”]. 1 in 2? Geez.

As it turns out ,shining a lighted screen a few inches from your face hampers our sleeping. Scientific American brings the science, “Bright Screens Could Delay Bedtime” —

This is an actual thing.

The dose of light is important, Figueiro says; the brightness and exposure time, as well as the wavelength, determine whether it affects melatonin. Light in the blue-and-white range emitted by today’s tablets can do the trick — as can laptops and desktop computers, which emit even more of the disrupting light but are usually positioned farther from the eyes, which ameliorates the light’s effects.”

In other words, maybe we should try a book instead. Or, a Kindle, according to UCLA’s Sleep Disorders Center [Los Angeles Times: “Reading on iPad before bed can affect sleep habits”].

This topic interested me, and also inspired me to stop think really hard about not doing (some) of these things.

Here are some additional numbers on our gadget habits, from a survey of some 3500 gadget users. The survey is from 2011, so maybe let’s add another 10 or 15% to the numbers below. [GigaOM: “Sleepless? Then Stop Taking Your iPhone To Bed.”]

gadgets vs. sleep

“ [People] … have a hard time being physically separated from their smartphones, even when it’s ostensibly time to sleep. More than half at 61 percent of those surveyed keep the phone in the bedroom, and 41 percent have it within arm’s reach of where they sleep. Those figures jump to 77 and 60 percent respectively when you’re talking about the younger crowd (respondents between the ages of 22 and 34).”

On a somewhat related note, Nieman Lab (“Let me guess: Let me guess: You sleep with your iPad, don’t you?”), discusses a recent Pew Research survey of almost 10,000 American tablet users, with some insights into our news consumption and reading habits.The data point that jumped out at me was how surprisingly domestic tablet use is —

“Tablets are designed to be portable, but Pew found most people — 85 percent — are still using them mostly from home. Pew’s findings also reinforce the idea that tablets are an after-work “lean back” experience for most users. Evening remains the most popular time of day for people to turn to their tablets.”


Or, for those that have fully embraced their addiction, there is this. [GigaOM, “Sleep with your iPhone? Now you can make it cuddly”].


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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

tyler shores cambridge

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