Using electronics before bed could cause sleep problems

August 29, 2012 (TROY, N.Y.) Using electronic gadgets like tablets or cell phones for just two hours before bed can cause sleep problems.

A new study from the Lighting Research Center finds that the displays can suppress melatonin. That's the chemical that controls our body clock. Teens and night shift workers may be especially vulnerable.

Exposure to light at night, especially shortwave length light, can slow or even halt melatonin production and interrupt sleep. That can increase the risk for diabetes, obesity and even breast cancer if it occurs for many years.

The testing was done using tablet computers, but researchers believe any gadget with a backlit display could have a similar effect.

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