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Wired Way of Winding Down

Everybody has a cell phone in Manhattan. You walk down the street and probably 50% of the people have a phone in their hand. They touch it, thumb it, listen to it, play with it. Do they take it to bed? Well yes, it turns out that they do.

Pew Research Center study shows 65% of adults in the US have slept with their cell phone. According to Dr Chris Edzikowski director of Edinburgh Sleep Centre there is now more than sufficient evidence that mobile phone exposure an hour before sleep adversely affects deep sleep.

In the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll, 95% of the 1,508 people surveyed reported using some type of electronic device — such as a TV, computer, video game or cell phone — within an hour of bedtime at least a few nights a week.

All these devices can affect the quality of sleep, says Lauren Hale, associate professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook (N.Y.) University School of Medicine, one of the researchers involved in the study. “Communication technologies are often light-emitting, which can suppress the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and make it harder to go to sleep at night.” Both the light and alert sounds from such devices can interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep, she says.

Watching TV is the most popular distraction for all ages. About 61% of those surveyed said they used their laptops or computers at least a few nights a week within that hour, and about half of young people ages 13-29 surf the Internet every night or almost every night before bedtime. Nighttime cell phone use is common among young people: 56% of 13- to 18-year-olds and 42% of 19- to 29-year-olds said they read, send or receive text messages every night or almost every night.

All together, our wired way of winding down at night = less sleep.

 


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