In 2011, the National Sleep Foundation polled over 1,500 Americans and found that ninety-five percent of respondents used some form of technology in the hour before bed. That's not great, especially considering new research suggesting that all that time you spend reading Wikipedia's Unusual Deaths page in the comfort of your own boudoir is stressing you out and keeping you up. (Duh?)
The study from researchers at University of Texas-Pan American found that people who surfed the web or sent a text message within two hours of going to bed reported higher levels of stress than those who didn't.
Some researchers have suggested that light emitted from gadgets such as computers and cellphones may disrupt sleep. Electronic screens emit a lot of blue light, which is known to suppress melatonin, a hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle.
Other evidence has suggested that interactive technologies, like texting and emailing, make a person more alert, and disrupt the onset of sleep.
The good news, if you just send emails or watch TV, you're about at the same stress as the average stressed out person. Which is still probably really fucking stressed out. Yay?
Obviously more research is needed, but it's probably obvious to anyone who's on a computer late at night that it's not great for you. I work most evenings, and it takes me a good one to two hours to fall asleep, and that usually requires some sort of aids (book, pills, whiskey, banging head on wall, etc.). The one thing that's helped a bit is this free (!) app called Flux, which makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day — it's warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Right now, it's lulling me to sleep with the sweet tint of nighty night. Honestly, sometimes I have to turn it off just so I don't face plant into QWERTY.
However, if you don't have a job that requires you to look at cute animal videos into the wee hours (my life! so hard!), it makes sense to make your sleeping area a no tech zone. Remember, the bedroom is just for sleeping and sex and snacking.