In the habit of playing games on your phone or checking social media as the last thing you do before bed?
Even if you don't think you have a sleep problem, your night-time habits might be reducing your quality of life more than you think, experts say.
Research has shown a clear link between technology use before bed and compromised sleep that affects our health and wellbeing. While effects can vary from person to person, it may be as subtle as you are thinking not being as sharp as it could be, your energy a bit sluggish, your vigilance a bit down, your mood a bit less stable.
As South Australian sleep researcher Dr Sarah Blunden puts it:
"Sleep is the foundation of all physical and mental health essentially. That sounds very radical but it's true."
As well as making us feel below par, poor sleep has been linked with an increased risk of developing anxiety, depression, weight gain, reduced immunity, and some studies have found there's a relationship between sleep deprivation and high blood pressure or heart disease.
HOW TECHNOLOGY USE AFFECTS SLEEP
Technology use in the evenings may make it harder to drop off to sleep and can also reduce the quality of sleep and make you feel sleepier the next day.
Using a screen for 1.5 hours or more seems to be when problems start, although not everyone is affected the same way. There is no doubt that using technology before or at bed is an appealing activity. However, the repercussions can hit hard on you the very next day.
Generally, the pain from soreness and stiffness are created by tonnes of negative charges, which partly are contributed by the daily consumption of electronic devices such as smart phones, internet connection, computers, TVs, appliances and much more.
The impacts on sleep are related to both the stimulating effects of interacting with a device and the effects of light from the screen.
A way to optimise your sleeping conditions comprises of moving all your electric devices to another room but also making better choices in product purchases. It is fascinating how technology development is at the same time disruptive yet beneficial.
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TECH PARTICULARLY BAD FOR TEEN SLEEP
The risk from intense light is especially significant for teenagers.
This is because teenagers need more sleep (8-10 hours vs 7-8 for most adults) and also because changes in the brain mean teens already have a delayed sleep-wake pattern.
Teenagers also love to be engaged with other teens, and are especially fearful of "missing out" on well, pretty much anything. This creates something of a perfect storm for a sleep problem to develop.
Says sleep physician Dr Chris Seton: "The screens not only take away sleep because they take up time, but they make kids more wakeful, and the more wakeful they are, the more activity they do, so it's a vicious cycle."
And the evidence is this problem's getting worse. Between 2010 and 2016 there's been a significant increase in complaints of inadequate sleep among 18-24 year-olds, with 60 per cent of this age group now affected, Professor David Hillman, chair of Australia's Sleep Health Foundation said.
There is also emerging evidence this is resulting in an increased risk of behavioural disorders in young people.
REDUCING THE IMPACT OF SCREEN ON SLEEP
So are there any sneaky tricks and measures that can get around the alerting problems of screens?
Here is list of easy tips to follow:
Dim the screen on devices as much as possible at night
Reverse the setting on e-readers so that the type is white on a black background, rather than the other way round.
Consider using a free software program for PCs and laptops called f.lux which decreases the amount of blue light from screens.
Try the different apps, screen protectors and in some cases, inbuilt night settings that reduce blue light on phone screens.
Try to restrict technology use, especially the most stimulating kind, to earlier in the evening.
Try these tricks and see if you encounter any improvements in your sleeping!
To read more about the topic, check abc.net for more amazing suggestions.
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