Study: Technology Before Bed Bad for Sleep

Not getting enough sleep? Blame your iPhone, television, or laptop computer. According to a new poll released by the National Sleep Foundation, 95 percent of Americans use some form of technology before they go to sleep and this habit negatively affects a person’s sleep patterns. But why?

"Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness, and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour--making it more difficult to fall asleep," said Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor at Harvard Medical School. "This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep."

The use of technology before bed is a widespread problem. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reports that of the men and women polled, baby boomers, men and women between the ages of 45 – 64, are the age group most likely to watch television before going to sleep (67%). However while younger generations are less likely to watch TV, they are plenty busy with other gadgets. Fifty-five percent of Generation Z members (ages 13 – 18) and 47% of Generation Y members (ages 19 – 29) use a computer before bed and they are twice as likely to play video games late at night. The younger generations are also much more likely to send or receive text messages before hitting the sack, with 56% of Generation Z members and 42% of Generation Y users admitting to mobile phone use.

"Unfortunately, cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep at night leaving millions of Americans functioning poorly the next day," Russell Rosenberg, the vice chairman of the Washington DC-based National Sleep Foundation NSF, said in a statement.

So, what is the lesson in all this? No technology at least an hour before bed! According to the NSF, a lack of sleep negatively impacts one’s work, mood, family, driving habits, sex life, and heath, so pays to get a good night’s sleep.

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Categories: Gadgets and Gizmos

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