March 2017 – Since the dawn of the digital age, more words have been written and read than ever before. While the advantages of digital books are lauded by many, you may not want to throw away your bookshelves just yet.
According to Harvard Medical School researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, use of a light-emitting E-reader can have negative effects on the sleep cycle and inner clock of the user.
“We found the body’s natural circadian [daily] rhythms were interrupted by the short-wavelength enriched light, otherwise known as blue light, from these electronic devices,” said Anne-Marie Chang, author and associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders. “Participants reading an LE-eBook took longer to fall asleep and had reduced evening sleepiness, reduced melatonin secretion, later timing of their circadian clock, and reduced next-morning alertness than when reading a printed book.”
While being better for your general health, print books also require more focus to read, resulting in improved comprehension. A study presented in Italy in July 2014 found that "the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does.”
hms.harvard.edu, 1/5/15; theguardian.com, 8/19/14