But if you read in bed by the glow of a Nook, Kindle, iPad or other device, you may find that you read and read and never really feel tired. Not until you have to get up in the morning, that is.
Kindle and Nook readers may be staying up later reading, not because what they’re reading is so good, but simply because they’re using the Kindle or Nook.
Electronic devices — computers, e-readers, smart phones and tablets — mess with your sleep cycles, which in turn messes with your creativity and can lead to writer’s block or other forms of resistance.
Is a Kindle, Nook, iPad Worse than Staying up with an Old-fashioned Paper Book?
The blue light emitted by these electronic devices has been shown to “alert the brain, suppress the melatonin and shift your body clock all at the same time,” according to Harvard Medical School sleep researcher Steven Lockley.
This isn’t a problem during the day when you want to be alert, but it is a problem after the sun goes down.
The closer the blue light source is to your face, the more severe the effects. So TV doesn’t interfere with sleep as much as computers or e-readers.
How Does that Mess with Creativity?
If you artificially keep yourself awake, chances are you won’t get the sleep you need. And a sleep-deprived brain is incapable of creativity.
Every cognitive function — creative thinking, problem-solving, memory, attention and focus, mood, self-monitoring and motivating, learning, logical thinking — is significantly impaired by lack of sleep.
If that doesn’t convince you sleep is essential, consider this: sleep deprivation will make you lose muscle and gain fat!
(More info on the importance of sleep coming in Chapter 5 of Around the Writer’s Block.)
Turn Off Your e-reader to Turn On Creativity
Some devices can be adjusted to emit less blue light and newer devices will probably offer this feature more commonly in the future.
But if you can’t adjust the settings on your current device, you should stop using it at least an hour before you want to sleep.
So much for reading yourself to sleep, unless you revert to good old page books…