Science

Published on April 10th, 2017 | by Guest

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Is Technology Ruining Our Sleep?

Are games, social media, messaging friends or other apps keeping you up past your bedtime? If so, you’re not alone. As revealed in a recent study by the Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic at Nimhans, researchers discovered that Internet use is causing people to delay their sleep by 100 minutes every day. That’s more than one and a half hours. The study, which focused on the use of Internet for Facebook and WhatsApp, also found that using the Internet was also causing people to wake up 90 minutes later.

Interestingly, however, this same study found that the quality of sleep for the Internet users that participated was above average. That being said, most of these people also typically checked their phones and tablets at least four additional times after going to bed. This might not sound so bad, but when you consider that engaging in online activities and interacting with apps before bed leads to sleep loss and sleep disorders, and can also contribute to other health problems that can range from anxiety to heart disease, you may start to consider powering down your mobile device before bed.

Lack of sleep from technology can contribute to anxiety and other health issues.

If you have children, you might want to limit their exposure to technology before bed as well. According to a study carried out by the consumer watchdog Ofcom, researchers discovered that allowing children to have access to televisions, computers and mobile phones in their  bedroom can cause anxiety and prevent sleep, which ruins school performance. The study determined that having television and game consoles in bedrooms teaches the brain to view the bedroom as a place for entertainment and not one of rest.

Past research studies have also linked children’s technology use in bedrooms to a surge in children sleep disorders, mental health issues, low levels of emotional control, catching viruses and becoming obese.

Certain tech can make your brain think the bedroom is a dangerous place

What’s more, it seems that the types of games people play before bed can also have a poor influence on sleep. For instance, playing games that are violent in the bedroom can cause the brain to perceive the bedroom as a place of danger so the individual is always mentally on edge.

“When a teenager is playing a violent video game regularly in his bedroom, his brain starts to associate it as a place where he should be on edge and ready for danger; the brain becomes wired to not want to sleep in that environment,” explains psychologist Dr. Jennifer Vriend, lead author or the Ofcom study.

For this reason, both children and adults who engage in gaming, should refrain from playing certain games in the bedroom and too close to bedtime. For adults, this can also mean playing games in online casinos. While these can be fun games to play, it’s important to enjoy such thrills at appropriate times of the day to avoid potentially disrupting sleep.

What you can do to prevent technology from ruining your sleep?

The answer is quite simple and probably not one that will surprise you: don’t take technology to bed with you.

More specifically, get the televisions, game consoles and computers out of your bedroom and shut off devices as you near bedtime. Quiet your brain with non-stimulating activities.

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