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The Dark Side Of Blue Light On Sleep

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If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, blue light from various sources – including electronic devices -- might be a problem. Studies suggest even low levels of blue light can delay secretions in the body of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. In this edition of Vital Signs, the scoop on blue light from sleep specialist Dr. John Herman, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

How much sleep do you need a day?

  • Infants require about 16 hours a day.
  • Teenagers should get 9 hours on average.
  • Most adults need 7 to 8 hours a night for the best amount of sleep, although some may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours.
  • Women in the first three months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual.

And if you don't get enough sleep, here's what can happen:

  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
  • Increase in perception of pain

For more information:

Impact of Blue Light on Sleep

Insomnia Slideshow: 20 Tips for Better Sleep

Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Q & A about Melatonin

What Affects Sleep

Good Sleep Habits

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.