A study by the National Sleep Foundation is making a correlation between a lack of sleep and the use of technology before going to bed. A study conducted by the group found that 95 percent of people surveyed admitted to using electronic devices within the hour before going to bed, while two-thirds felt they didn’t get enough sleep during the week.
The referenced devices blamed for these instances include television, laptops/computers, video games and smartphones, all of which help increase exposure to artificial light which is said can suppress the release of sleep-aiding hormone, melatonin.
It’s an interesting theory, and I’m sure that it has a great deal to do with cases of lack of sleep. But what caught my eye was the part of the research that found 22 percent of kids 13 to 18 say they are “sleepy”, in part because of this:
“One in 10 kids report they are being awoken by texts after they have gone to bed.”
The above quote is from Charles Czeisler, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. I don’t know what percentage of people actually put their phones on silent or turn it off completely, but I do know devices can alert users on everything from texts to e-mail to Facebook and Twitter updates. Kids love to be social and with mobile devices they can socialize at anytime.
Flat out, there’s just more at our disposal than there was even 10 years ago to occupy our time.
I personally find that the nights I can’t sleep is because I’m just distracted by what’s going on around me, either the television show I’m watching or the e-mails I’m getting on my phone. Had I not been exposed to the artificial light before heading to bed maybe I’d be able to sleep through those distractions, but knowing I have them around doesn’t make it any easier.
So now that we know this, what will we do about it? Will we heed the warnings and turn off these devices well-prior to bedtime? Will we choose to *gasp* pull out an actual book to read instead of watching a screen? It may be time to choose between your trusted devices and a good night’s sleep.