How Technology Affects Your Sleep
Sleep is a key ingredient to a healthy lifestyle: it affects your energy levels, your weight, your attitude, your mental functions, and even how your body functions. When you get enough consistent sleep, you are a healthier and happier person.
However, there are a lot of technological advances that negatively affect your sleeping patterns. I’m not against technology because it is a great thing—it has provided us with technology, music, the internet, refrigerators, and so much more. I do think people could be more aware of how their electronic gadgets can affect their overall health.
In the Beginning
Yes, I’m going there: In the beginning, people were awake when it was light out, and slept when it was dark out. Then, electricity made it possible for people to keep different hours by having lights on at night. For a lot of months during the year, we are awake earlier in the morning and later at night when it is dark outside. This alone has affected the amount of sleep we get.
It is easy to solve the problem of lights: just turn them out and you have darkness. In fact, recent studies show that it is healthier to sleep without any lights on, particularly for women. Apparently, different hormones are released in your body when you sleep with lights on than when it is dark, and this can affect your health. So, lights out!
Whether you love them or consider them idiot boxes, the television has changed the way we live our lives. They provide sources of entertainment and information, from television shows to documentaries to news programs. The problem with televisions, however, is that they can keep you awake when you should be sleeping.
Studies have shown that people don’t get enough quality sleep when they keep television sets in their bedrooms. Falling asleep with the TV on, even if it is set on a timer to go off automatically, can affect your sleep—and, not in a positive way. At the same time, even if you don’t fall asleep with it on, you could end up staying awake longer to watch something.
People who have trouble falling or staying asleep might find it is because their bodies cannot fully rest in an environment that isn’t used for relaxation. If you do a lot of other things in your bedroom other than sleeping, like watching TV or working on your laptop, your body won’t consider this a relaxing area.
Cell Phones, Laptops, & Handheld Games
It turns out that even children and teens are having their sleep affected by technology. Instead of sleeping, kids and teens are spending more time staying awake to use their portable electronics. A recent study showed that teens sleep with their cell phones, text messaging back and forth. Even when they do sleep, they still keep their phones within the vicinity. Then, they are able to wake up the moment they receive a text.
When people bring laptops to bed, they are also conditioning their bodies to think of the bed as a place to do something other than sleep. Plus, a laptop in bed can keep you awake longer than your body wants to be.
Most of us use alarm clocks, right? I hate waking up to a screeching BEEP BEEP BEEP sound, so I use a radio alarm. Still, if you aren’t getting enough sleep because of whatever else is going on in your life, it will be a shock to your system to wake up to a blaring noise. In fact, using alarm clocks can affect the way you feel the rest of the day.
Naturally, our bodies know when to wake up. We only need to rely on alarm clocks (most of the time) when we aren’t living a healthy lifestyle and getting enough sleep.
What Can You Do
Use technology to your advantage, but don’t let it run your life. It comes down to you making healthy choices. You have to make the decision to turn the gadgets and lights off so your body and mind can get a well-rested night of sleep.
Parents can make sure their children get fit sleep by keeping gadgets out of the bedrooms. Adults can do the same thing: keep it out of the bedroom. You might be surprised at just how great you feel, how much more energy you have, and how happy you will be after getting enough sleep on a regular basis.