You may not have noticed yet but you are most likely in a committed relationship with technology. You spend most hours of your day together, and when you’re apart its regularly on your mind. First thing in the morning, last thing at night and throughout the day you are staring into its bright and beautiful face.
Your phone, your iPad, your computer or whatever the device you use is. You are probably even using it now to read this article.
Studies have shown that Australians spend over 10 hours each day on electronic media. That’s more hours than we sleep!
And unsurprisingly this is negatively affecting us.
It’s the news no one wants to hear.
Scientists are finding more and more ways in which this excessive use is negatively affecting us. And recently they have found one that greatly affects us all.
We all do it. We all love it. But using electronic devices that emit light before bed has been proven to greatly affect the quality or our sleep.
The study focused on electronic e-readers and books, comparing the effects on sleep and tiredness after reading both before bed.
Twelve people participated in the study, which lasted two weeks.
During this time they monitored their time to fall asleep, total sleep time, sleep efficiency, time spent in sleep stages, sleepiness before and after sleep, and the concentration of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin in their blood.
The results showed that these factors which promote good sleep where all reduced after reading an e-book.
It was displayed that they had suppressed levels of melatonin, reduced and delayed timing of the REM sleep stage, reduced alertness the following morning and increased alertness before bed.
These findings show that the reading of e-books was directly effecting sleep by making it worse, and the scientists linked it to the light emitted from the e-books. The type of light which is also given off by all those other devices we are so in love with using.
Lead researcher Dr. Charles Czeisler explained his concern towards the findings saying that,
“Sleep deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes, and cancer…Thus, the melatonin suppression that we saw in this study among participants when they were reading from the light-emitting e-reader concerns us.”
So what actually can we do?
This study isn’t suggesting that we should stop completely using technology. It’s such an integral part of our society that it would be near impossible.
But reduce the use before bed.
It’s that simple.
We can change. Reduce the use of electronic devices before going to bed. Charge them away from the bedroom. Wait and don’t immediately check when there is a notification.
Your beloved device won’t even notice the change but your sleep definitely will.