How Electronic Devices Impact Our Sleep

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Irrespective of being employed or a homemaker we all wish we could sleep some more. Yet rarely do we get to indulge this desire. Poor sleep is one of the key reasons why majority of the population today suffers from various health problems like Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Obesity, and Depression. There are many habits that contribute towards poor sleep for example, unhealthy eating habits, irregular routine, and no physical activity. However recent studies indicate that excessive usage of electronic gadgets is one of the key culprits for causing sleep problems and disorders among adults and kids. This is because even after the lights are out in the room, we are not asleep but engrossed in our phones, laptops, and Kindle.

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A human body normally prepares itself to fall asleep after sunset i.e. close to 8:30-9pm. This is when our brain increases the production of Melatonin which basically tells our body 'Buddy it’s time to hit the bed.' When electric bulbs weren’t there to illuminate our homes, it was only sunlight that our body was exposed to and hence the only one controlling our sleep behavior. Today our body’s ability to produce Melatonin has been severely impaired as it is exposed to so many kinds of artificial lights post sunset. This over exposure to light(s) has a direct impact on our sleep pattern. However not all colors of light are bad for us. Studies indicate that amber and red lights do not interfere in the production of Melatonin,whereas blue, green, and white lights do so.

All electronic devices emit a blue light which mimics the effect of daylight on our body i.e. alert our mind and delay the sleep process. So, is the blue light alone responsible for affecting our body’s ability to produce the required levels of Melatonin? No, it isn’t, research and studies have revealed some more reasons or side-effects of using electronic devices that severely impacts sleep. They are,

  • Playing games or surfing internet at bedtime increases brain activity and hence delays the sleep process. It also impacts one’s ability to function normally during the day. People who use electronic devices for longer hours at night experience excessive daytime sleepiness and irritable behavior.
  • Your phone or computer is constantly emitting small amounts of radiation every time you connect to the Internet. One of the harmful effects of radiation that has been proven, is an adverse impact on sleep and its quality. Studies have shown that people who spend time surfing the net on phone or computer have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Honestly none of us today can survive without technology hence ditching these gadgets is not a plausible solution.The solution lies in using them wisely and cautiously. Here are some tips that you could adopt to help increase the Melatonin production, sync your Sleep cycle naturally, and keep those lifestyles diseases in check.

  • Break the habit of using any gadgets prior bedtime i.e. 1-2 hours before your scheduled bed time.
  • Switch off the internet connection before falling asleep however, if you must keep your device connected to the net ensure its not close to your body.
  • Install blue light filter for your device(s). The display settings of your device should have this function, but if they don’t you can download apps that will help filter this blue light for you. For example, Twilight. The other alternative is to install filter screens for your tablets, phones, and laptops.
  • If your work involves working long hours in front of an electronic screen, then wearing blue light blocking glasses is essential.

The healthy production of Melatonin is proven to help our body fight against diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart condition, and many more. By curbing your craving to respond to late night Whats App msgs, non-urgent emails, finishing a novel, or surfing you can create a healthy environment that aids your body in producing Melatonin. Remember your bedroom is your sanctuary after a hard day and you can keep it so by making it a No-Tech-Zone.



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