#740 To Read on an iPad at Night

Or To Read a Printed Book? ← That Is the Question

In our Heroic Coach certification program, we kick the party off by establishing the game we’re playing in Module I: Eudaimon-ology in which we connect ancient wisdom (Aristotle!) to modern science (Seligman!) to establish the fact that it’s all about flourishing/having a “good soul” via living with virtue.

Then we move on to get clarity on how to Operationalize Virtue—going from theory to practice to mastery. When? TODAY!!!

After a quick look at Module II: The Big 3 x 2 (aka: Energy + Work + Love x Identity + Virtues + Behaviors), we spend six (!!!) weeks on Module III: #carpediem as we begin systematically architecting our Masterpiece Days to cultivate emotional stamina and consistently express the (Optimus!) best version of ourselves.

We remind ourselves of the fact that our day actually begins the night before. As such, the first thing we focus on Optimizing is our PM Bookend. The #1 thing we focus on there is our digital sunset—aka, when we turn off our blue-light emitting devices to allow our brains to simmer down so we can get a good night of sleep so we can wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and energized.

All of which gets us one step closer to the point of Today’s +1.

During our two hours (!) of Q&A for that session, one of the questions a Coach asked was if it made a difference whether they read via an iPad or a book at night.

I gave my thoughts on the subject. Then, literally the next day, I got more clarity on the SCIENCE behind the answer.

Enter: Matthew Walker’s brilliant book on the science of Why We Sleep. (Note: If you’re going to read one book on sleep, this is it.)

Short story: Bring people into a lab. Have them read a book on an iPad a few hours before going to sleep. Then have the same person read a printed book on a different night. Then measure their melatonin.

Here’s what you’ll find: “Compared to reading a printed book, reading on an iPad suppressed melatonin released by over 50% at night. Indeed, iPad reading delayed the rise of melatonin by up to three hours, relative to the natural rising the same individuals experience when reading a printed book. When reading on the iPad, their melatonin peak, and thus instruction to sleep, did not occur until the early morning hours, rather than before midnight. Unsurprisingly, individuals took longer to fall asleep after iPad reading relative to print-copy reading.

Crazy but true: Reading on your iPad suppresses melatonin production (a key pacing event for great sleep) by a remarkable 50%!!


Today’s +1: Reading tonight?

Consider going old school and reading a print book.

Your melatonin will thank you.

And your future, tomorrow self will thank you for the energy boost as well. 🤓

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