There are people in this world — some who I tend to trust — telling us with increasing frequency that our insistence on using a backlit screen before bedtime is disrupting our sleep. So I was super self-disciplined (for a couple of evenings) and turned the computer off a full hour before hitting the sack.
To be honest, I’d need to continue this n=1 experiment if I’m to draw any conclusions about my quality of sleep, but here’s what did happen:
1. The dishes got done
2. Paper books got read.
Because if you take away the TV and the computer as possible evening entertainment, your options narrow. The other thing that happened was I felt more peaceful. So now it’s just a matter of organising my day. In order to turn the computer off one hour before bedtime you have to keep a regular bedtime and your eye on the clock.
Here’s a satisfying image, from 1879, proving once and for all that people have always dilly dallied before going to bed. (It’s not just the screens keeping us up; we’ll find anything to avoid it.)
Let’s say backlit screens do have an effect on sleep. What does this mean for children? Are picturebooks for iPad best kept for earlier in the day? And if backlit screens are bad for sleep, should we be turning off overhead lighting as well?
Where does it end????
Related: Bedtime story apps for little readers at USA Today