Electronics (including smartphones, laptops, and TV) emit a blue light that photoreceptors in the brain misconstrue as daylight, halting the synthesis of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Your biological clock then cues you to stay up. This results in fewer hours of sleep and daytime sleepiness. Kids are most affected. Turn off all devices 30 min before tucking into bed.
Today, we live in a world that completely immerses us in technology every day. What most people don’t realize is that technology is a gift and a curse. It is a gift because we can instantly connect with people, products or ideas that are on the other side of the world. It is a curse because these technological devices have a hidden impact on us physically and mentally that we do not realize. Technology can make our sleep elusive.
The Curse Of Technology
It is a well-known fact among medical professionals that a lot of our beloved electronic devices, our tablets, cell phones, and laptops, are keeping us up at night. This is due to the fact that they emit a certain hue of blue light that throws our bodies off. We have photoreceptors in our brain that sense light and dark, and the light from these devices ultimately tricks us into thinking that we should still be awake.
Electronics Are Stealing Our Sleep
The human body has what’s called a circadian rhythm, which is our body’s natural clock. Circadian rhythms give us clues for when it’s time to go to sleep or be awake. The blue light from these devices is falsely interpreted by the circadian rhythm as daylight. According to the National Sleep Foundation, even the small amounts of blue light emitted from the screen of a smartphone is enough to disrupt sleep patterns.
Melatonin is a chemical that is released in the brain when we start to fall asleep. Electronics actually halt melatonin production. And no matter how many over-the-counter melatonin tablets you take, it will still not allow you to fall asleep.
Children are even more vulnerable to these negative effects. According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, children who use electronic devices while they are in bed at night sleep fewer hours and experience more daytime sleepiness.
The Internet Isn’t Helping Either
Most parents in 2016 are guilty of creating a culture of bad sleep habits for their children. As harmless as it may seem to check your Facebook or read Internet news articles before you sleep, activities like this can actually be detrimental to your sleep. If the content that you are reading invokes a strong reaction out of you, be it positive or negative, it can keep you awake. If that article you read about starving children in Somalia made you sad, guess what? It’s going to be harder for you to suppress these feelings and go to sleep.
You can personally combat this new phenomenon of technology-disrupted sleep by not using your electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. And yes, this includes the television!