Impact of technology on our sleep

By Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi

The gadgets that today’s world of technology has bombarded us with have brought with them one huge drawback: they have robbed us of our sleep. Not just sleep quantity but our sleep satisfaction too is badly affected. Technology has connected us with people around the world but has deprived us of healthy sleeping habits.

Netizens all over the globe are now hitched to their smartphones, tablets, and laptops for more hours daily than ever before. A survey in the USA revealed that the average person spends over 10 hours a day looking at some type of electronic screen. Unfortunately people are occupied with their gadgets even at bedtime and this dependency on technology is leading to sleep deprivation in all age group, especially young adults.

In order to get a good night’s sleep, it is very important to make a commitment with oneself of not using technology in the bedroom. It is not rocket science that our sleep satisfaction will be affected by noise and light in the room, especially that which is emanating from our TV sets, computers and cell phones.

We all now know that technology stimulates our brains like anything. Watching our favourite shows, checking our social media feed, reading emails, all are activities that will stimulate our minds. Just imagine trying to relax and going to a restful sleep while doing all these brain-stimulating activities. Sounds impossible, right? It will definitely lead to problems falling and staying asleep. Make sure you do not have a TV in your bedroom if you want your mind to get into sleep mode at night.

Another major reason for the sleep deprivation is the blue light that comes from our tablets, mobile phones etc. Science tells us that this blue light suppresses melatonin in our bodies, a hormone that supports our sleep cycle. Obviously if our sleep cycle is off due to excessive use of technology, we will feel less rested. Doctors recommend that we should turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before our bedtime. Instead of quickly peeking at our cell phones at bedtime for messages or any new followers that we may have acquired, we should do something relaxing like reading a book.

Neuroscientists also advise us that we should turn off our cell phones when going to sleep. Most of us keep their phones on when we sleep and use them as alarm clocks. What we need is a proper alarm clock and we must resist the tendency to use your cell phone as one. It especially becomes dangerous if the battery of the phone is low. There is more radiation when the battery is dying and as the cell phone is usually placed near the pillow, it is not good for our brain cells at all. We must turn our tech devices off every night and should place them with their chargers in a place that is out of reach.

What we need is a quiet room for sleeping that is free of brain-stimulating distractions, a place that allows us to rest properly so that we are refreshed in the morning for a new day.

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