Saturday, August 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Night owl vs. early riser

The light from cell phones and e-readers can make it difficult for a partner to fall asleep.
The light from cell phones and e-readers can make it difficult for a partner to fall asleep.
Q: Help! I'm married to a night owl, but I have to get up early for work. She sits in bed, reading on her Kindle and watching TV for a couple of hours after I want to be sleeping. I love that she's in bed with me and she uses headphones for the TV, but, honestly, all those flashing lights make it hard to fall asleep. What can I do?

- Scott
A: I'm an early bird like you, and I really value my sleep, too. Did you know the light from the TV, your wife's Kindle, and other devices like your cellphone and computer really do keep people from falling asleep? The light from the LEDs is very blue, just like daylight. So, no wonder you can't fall asleep. Plus, the flashing makes it hard for you to relax.

Experts recommend turning off all your electronic screens at least 30 minutes before going to bed. I also recommend banishing electronics from bedrooms entirely, or, at least, hiding them. I don't even have a lighted alarm clock! Beautiful cabinets and armoires hide your TV when it's not in use.

You need time to calm down after a busy day. A relaxing nighttime routine could include a shower or bath, a cup of herbal tea or warm milk, and a good old-fashioned book.

If your wife puts away her Kindle, she will probably fall asleep faster, too! She clearly doesn't want to bother you because she's already wearing headphones for the TV. But she probably doesn't realize how bad those lights are for both of you.

Tell her you read about the effects of electronics on sleep, and how you're having trouble falling asleep because of them. Perhaps she can record her late shows and watch them earlier, with you, and go back to printed books. You also could wear an eye mask to block the light.

You both deserve a good night's sleep.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality. To contact her:

@JenniferAdams. Look for her new book, "Bedrooms That Inspire," out this month.

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