Improving Your Sleep Is Just One Button Press Away

Improving Your Sleep Is Just One Button Press Away

Gregory Han
Mar 10, 2011

Hey, are those bags under your eyes? Not getting enough quality sleep lately? Well you might be suffering from the effects of prolonged exposure to light-emitting screens, aka your computer, smart phone, television and portable gaming device. The National Sleep Foundation released a study earlier this week describing the sleep disruptive effects of looking at a screen an hour before bed, possibly adding to the growing problems with insomnia, particularly of note, since 83% of millennials sleep with their cell phones within reach...

According to the National Sleep Foundation's annual Sleep in America poll study, 43% of those polled between the ages of 13-64 felt they rarely or never got a decent night's sleep during the work week, with age profiles revealing younger users turned to their computers, smart phones or video games before bed, while the older crowd tuned into television (oh, we still remember when we wanted to be an adult to watch Johnny Carson before bed like an adult).

The light emitted from these type of bright screen devices are reported to suppress the release of sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and tend to keep us alert/awake longer than we'd naturally be inclined if following the natural 24 hour light cycle. You're basically messing with our evolutionary ties to the day and night light cycle.

"The higher use of these potentially more sleep-disruptive technologies among younger generations may have serious consequences for physical health, cognitive development and other measures of wellbeing." - Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School.

So if you're suffering from insomnia or poor sleep, do yourself a favor and press the "off" button on your devices and tune out at least an hour before bed. The good news is the fix is an easy one for a good percentage of those suffering from poor sleep (minus parents with newborns; there's no "off" button for babies). Just remember a good ole book (Kindle users with their non-light emitting e-Ink devices should be okay) might be a better late night companion than that iPhone, because: good sleep > Facebook update.

[via Discovery]

Other sleep+tech related posts from our archives:

(Image: Flickr member Milind Alvareslicensed for use under Creative Commons)

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