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Response to Letter to the Editor

Adams, Sue K. Ph.D.; Liguori, Gary Ph.D., FACSM; Lofgren, Ingrid E. Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.

doi: 10.1249/FIT.0000000000000340
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Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Rhode Island, Transition Center, Rm 208, 55 Lower College Rd, Kingston, RI 02881 E-mail: suekadams@uri.edu

Dean, College of Health Sciences, Co-Director, Academic Health Collaborative, Professor of Kinesiology, 106 Quinn Hall, 55 Lower College Rd, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881 E-mail: gliguori@uri.edu

Ingrid E. Lofgren, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., Nutrition and Food Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Rhode Island, 144B Fogarty Hall, 55 Lower College Rd, Kingston, RI 02881 E-mail: ingridlofgren@uri.edu

To the Editor:

Dr. Mortazavi brought up many important points regarding the effects of blue light and social networking on the sleep of young adults. Our previous works have reviewed the effects of short-wavelength light exposure on melatonin expression, circadian rhythms, and sleep patterns (1). In addition, the active use of technology and social networking on young adult sleep patterns has been well documented (2,3). The research on the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on sleep patterns is quite interesting and novel (4), and further research should be conducted to differentiate the specific effects of blue light and electromagnetic fields on circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. Given that the research is clear that exposure to technology can physiologically and psychologically impact a person’s sleep drive, we provided the standard recommendation that electronics should be avoided an hour before bedtime.

Although the physiological effects of cellular phones are noteworthy, the overarching premise of the article “Technology as a Tool to Encourage Young Adult to Sleep and Eat Healthy” was to use technology in a way that enhances self-awareness of patterns of health and wellness. Because many young adults have difficulty placing boundaries on technology use, standard behavioral health recommendations, such as turning off the phone an hour before bed, tend to be difficult to achieve. Therefore, using apps such as SleepBot may work toward maximizing sleep duration, efficiency, and self-awareness of sleep patterns. It should be noted that if SleepBot is used to track sleep, individuals would benefit from using the built-in dimming feature to dim the screen display, using the blue light filter currently built into many smartphones, or turning the screen face down on the surface to minimize exposure to light. These steps would help to minimize the negative effects of blue light on sleep. It seems that the only strategy to minimize exposure to electromagnetic fields would be to turn off the phone, but as mentioned earlier, this is easier said than done in young adults whose need for social inclusion often outweighs the need for optimal sleep health.

Sue K. Adams, Ph.D.,

Department of Human Development and Family Studies,

University of Rhode Island,

Transition Center, Rm 208,

55 Lower College Rd,

Kingston, RI 02881

E-mail: suekadams@uri.edu

Gary Liguori, Ph.D., FACSM,

Dean, College of Health Sciences,

Co-Director, Academic Health Collaborative,

Professor of Kinesiology,

106 Quinn Hall,

55 Lower College Rd,

University of Rhode Island,

Kingston, RI 02881

E-mail: gliguori@uri.edu

Ingrid E. Lofgren, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.,

Nutrition and Food Sciences,

College of Health Sciences,

University of Rhode Island,

144B Fogarty Hall,

55 Lower College Rd,

Kingston, RI 02881

E-mail: ingridlofgren@uri.edu

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References

1. Adams SK, Daly JF, Williford DN. Adolescent sleep and cellular phone use: recent trends and implications for research. Health Serv Insights. 2013;6:99–103.
2. Adams SK, Williford DN, Vaccaro A, Kisler TS, Francis A, Newman B. The young and the restless: socializing trumps sleep, fear of missing out, and technological distractions in first-year college students. Int J Adolesc Youth. 2016;1–12.
3. Adams SK, Kisler TS. Sleep quality as a mediator between technology-related sleep quality, depression, and anxiety. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013;16(1):25–30.
4. Mortazavi SM, Mortazavi SA, Habibzadeh P, Mortazavi G. Is it blue light or increased electromagnetic fields which affects the circadian rhythm in people who use smartphones at night. Iran J Public Health. 2016;45(3):405–6.
© 2017 American College of Sports Medicine.