Study: Too Much Technology Can Tax Your Brain - 8 News NOW

Study: Too Much Technology Can Tax Your Brain

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LAS VEGAS - Many Americans are not getting enough sleep, and it is not because they go to bed too late. A Harvard study shows technology negatively affects sleeping patterns.

Researchers say the light from your cell phone or tablet's screen suppresses the release of melatonin in your brain.

Melatonin is important, because it serves as your brain's clock - regulating your sleeping pattern. When you view something on an LED screen, you expose yourself to blue light, which researchers say stops the release of melatonin.

Dr. Lubna Javed, a sleep medicine specialist with HealthCare Partners, says when melatonin is suppressed, your brain remains active and insomnia can result.

"They've done studies where they actually look at melatonin suppression, and melatonin is suppressed the most with blue light," she said. "Two hours of exposure of blue light or LED light would actually suppress your melatonin about twenty two percent."

Melatonin also contains antioxidants that boost your immune system. When your body doesn't get those, it can put you at risk for serious medical problems such as diabetes, obesity or depression.

Dr. Javed say adults should get at least eight hours of quality sleep per night. Children need more.

"Kids, they can actually have lack of concentration, poor response and poor performance at school, and in adults as well," she said. "With sleep deprivation, they can have a loss of short term memory and also poor performance and memory disruption as well."

The amount of sleep children require varies, depending on their age. According to the National Sleep Foundation, toddlers need 12 to 14 hours during a 24-hour period. Preschoolers need 11 to 13 hours of sleep. Children ages 5 to 12 need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep.

Dr. Javed recommends adults create a technology-free zone for themselves and their children. In other words, don't keep electronics in your bedroom and stop using them at least 45 minutes before you go to sleep.

If that's not possible, dim the light on your screen to reduce some of the blue light your device emits.

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