Quick question: what’s the last thing you look at before turning the lights off at night? If you’re like me (or may of my friends), it’s probably either a tablet or a smartphone.
Before this blog was decimated by a meltdown of epic proportions, I used to blog quite enthusiastically about my Kindle. And then came the iPad Mini, which appeared to be the answer to all my ereader prayers, with its very excellent Kindle app.
But you know what I dusted off to read in the garden when the sun deigned to make an appearance in London this summer?
It was an iPad mini. Despite everything that’s perfect about it (it’s never more than 6 inches away from me…seriously), it’s just rubbish for reading in the sunshine. Like iPhones, iPads just don’t work well outdoors.
So, it was my Kindle 3G that accompanied me into the garden. It’s light, speedy and perfectly legible in direct sunshine. Just like the Kindle TV ads claim.
So, is this all just more of my usual tech-related navel-gazing?
Yes and no.
Yes, in that I’m lucky enough to be able to afford multiple devices like this and can pick and choose the best one for the given job. And I like shiny things.
But no, in the sense that more and more I’m avoiding use of my iPad mini late at night. Which brings us back to the original question. My iPad is usually the last thing I look at before turning off the light for sleep.
Except sleep doesn’t always arrive.
I suffer from chronic insomnia and have spent countless nights staring into the darkness, begging for sleep. After recently reading a great little book all about the science of sleep, I started to experiment and use the Kindle for my nighttime reading.
It may be all in the mind (what isn’t?!) but I think I sleep better when I don’t read from the iPad’s brightly light screen last thing at night. It makes physiological sense – the strong light from the iPad could be convincing my brain that it’s time to get up, kickstarting production of melatonin. I’m not the only one considering the link between nighttime iPad use and sleep disturbance.
I’m definitely not going to advise anyone else change their bedtime habits, but I know I’m going to continue this little experiment – especially while the present weather in London makes sleep that little bit more elusive.
Finally, this could be a great excuse for splashing out on a brand new Kindle Paperwhite ereader – but I’m going to stick with my trusty 3G keyboard model. It’s served me well so far.