The Effect of Gadgets on Sleep

By: Bel Marra Health | Brain Function | Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 12:03 AM

effect of gadgets on healthYou can’t go far without noticing the commercials and media aimed at all of the electronic devices. While cell phones and laptops and various other electronics have done wonders to make our lives easier, there are also very clear obvious negative connotations that are associated with them as well. There has been hundreds of studies done on the exact effects that these electronics have on our day to day lives. After all, they do appear in most of our homes and offices, oftentimes more than one of them. So with the simple fact that these electronics aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, people should be aware that there is one very distinct effect that gadgets have – and it has everything to do with the activity you partake in once the busy day has come to an end.

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The bottom line is all of the new technology is taking a huge toll on sleep and causing a number of sleep problems. Every year the National Sleep Foundation does a survey that specializes in these electronics related sleep problems. You may have noticed that your quality of sleep is very poor, but if you are wondering why, these survey results could shed some light.

The Sleep Poll from 2011 Found:

-60% of Americans use their electronics prior to sleep.

-Gadget cause sleep problems in two ways:  One is behavioral and one is physiological.

Behavioral Sleep Problems

The impact in this category, according to the report is severe. Many people stay up late watching TV thinking they are using it to unwind. A lot of people are in the habit of relaxing after a stressful day to music. Or the very common culprit of falling asleep during a movie. You might think that the white noise is helping, but in fact it is really hindering you and causing you sleep trouble. Having your brain active during this sensitive phase of relaxation can really wreck havoc on your quality of sleep, not to mention the fact you could possibly be shortening the amount of time you do get shut-eye.

Physiological Sleep Problems

This idea is slightly more complex to explain. The physiological response to your cell phone, TV or work computer is severe. This is one of the harder ones to pin-point because it happens without you even realizing it. What ends up happening, is that the soft light from your phone, or even your alarm clock that you keep by the bed, can be a huge disruptive factor to how your brain processes melatonin. The soft light, while you may not think it is making a difference, is actually causing your brain to not “shut off” which could clearly be a contributing factor to your sleep problems.

It may be time to relocate your electronics, or chose what you do directly before sleep a little more wisely. But if you are having a hard time really seeing the effect on your sleep, other people might have noticed your behavior changes. Examples that you might be experiencing sleep related problems include irritability, low tolerance for stress, frequent infections due to lowered immune system, lowered or increased appetite, and social changes.

Related Reading: Stanford: What ‘waking up confused’ means

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