How many times have you been up late at night, following a riveting new thread on Facebook. Or maybe there’s some breaking news on Twitter that you just can’t tear yourself away from. Oh, and maybe I could just send that urgent email before I go to bed…. This is a common phenomenon for millions of people around the world.
But even for a gadget freak like me, I was surprised to learn of a new study which said that a staggering 90% of young people (18-29 year olds) sleep with their smartphones next to them.
Whilst it may seem like a harmless activity, the intrusion of gadgets into the bedroom can cause numerous problems for both your psychological and physical well being.
It’s easy to become addicted to the constant barrage of media, message, images and videos on tap 24/7. But doing this before you go to bed can overstimulate you at a time when your mind needs to wind down. This can cause disruption to your sleep cycles and affect your health in the long term.
Additionally, the blue light emitted from screens stops your brain from producing melatonin, the hormone that is released at night to help you regulate your sleep. In effect, by exposing yourself to screen time before bed, you’re signalling your body to wake up rather than fall asleep.
GETTING IN BED WITH GADGETS Your technology is keeping you Awake
FROM SMARTPHONES TO TABLETS TO LAPTOPS: Over 75% of the US is connected to the Internet in a mobile manner.
AND PEOPLE GET A LITTLE ADDICTED… 1 in 3 smartphone owners would rather give up sex than their phones.
SO MAYBE IT’S NOT SURPRISING THAT PEOPLE ARE BRINGING THEIR GADGETS TO BED IN THE HOUR BEFORE BED, 95% OF PEOPLE SAY THAT THEY REGULARLY:
Browse the web
BEFORE TRYING TO SLEEP
AND WHEN IT’S TIME TO SLEEP, SMARTPHONES IN PARTICULAR TEND TO LINGER IN BED. 90% of 18 to 29 year olds say they sleep with their phone in or right next to the bed
IN FACT, IT SEEMS LIKE PEOPLE WANT THEIR PHONES TO WAKE THEM: 1 in 4 people don’t silence their cell phones before bed. 1 in 10 say they are awakened at least a few times a week by phone calls, texts, or emails.
AND 1 IN 2 SAY IF THEY WAKE IN THE NIGHT FOR NO REASON, THEY’LL CHECK THEIR PHONE RIGHT AWAY.
BUT IF YOU’RE SLEEPING WITH TECHNOLOGY, IT’S PROBABLY KEEPING YOU UP. IN A STUDY OF PEOPLE WHO USE GADGETS BEFORE BEDTIME: 63% of participants said that their sleep needs were not met during the week.
THIS IS BECAUSE… GADGETS DON’T JUST WAKE YOU UP, THEY ALSO MAKE IT HARDER FOR YOU TO FALL ASLEEP: A two-hour exposure to light from electronic displays suppresses melatonin by about 22%. (Melatonin is the chemical in your body that promotes sleep). REGULAR LATE-NIGHT COMPUTER USE ISN’T JUST ASSOCIATED WITH SLEEP DISORDERS: But also with stress and depressive symptoms.
TURNS OUT, NOT SLEEPING AFFECTS YOUR LIFE A LOT:
YOUR DRIVING: 1 in 5 car accidents are a result of drowsy driving.
YOUR JOB: 3 in 10 workers will fall asleep at their desks this month.
YOUR HEALTH: Sleeping an average of less than 6 hours per night raises lifetime heart attack risk by 50%
YOU LOVE YOUR GADGETS, BUT TAKING THEM TO BED ISN’T WORTH IT. WHEN YOU GO TO BED, SAY GOODNIGHT TO YOUR TECHNOLOGY, TOO.