The rapid advancement of technology over recent decades has helped improve our lives in many ways. It's easier than ever to stay connected to loved ones, no matter how far away they may be. From our phones, we can conduct a quick search to discover the answer to virtually any question. We can even use them to have food or a car delivered directly to us. Still, despite the advantages, everything has a downside. In the case of technology, a common downside is reduced quality of sleep.
Bright Screens Interfere with Melatonin
Our bodies function on a circadian rhythm. This 24-hour internal clock alerts us when it's time to wake up or go to sleep and keeps us functioning on a fairly predictable schedule from day to day, partly by releasing hormones such as melatonin which makes us drowsy. However, this rhythm and the production of melatonin can get confused by outside sources, including light. While you may have decided it's time for sleep, laying in bed with a bright screen in your face is sending the opposite signal to your brain. In turn, melatonin production drops and your mind believes it should remain alert instead.
Stimulation from Tech Prevents Sleep
In addition to preventing the release of melatonin, devices like smart phones tend to actively stimulate the mind. While you should be winding down, you're thinking about what you're reading or watching, letting your brain know that it should remain hard at work. It gets busy processing the information it receives and can keep you awake even after the source of the stimulation is gone.
Ways to Prevent Technology from Interfering with Sleep
The most obvious way to combat the negative effects of technology on our sleeping habits is to limit our use of it in the evening hours. The National Sleep Foundation recommends putting your phone or other electronic device down at least 30 minutes before your planned bed time. You can also help eliminate your phone's distraction by switching it from vibrate to silent during the night or leaving it another room to charge.
Sleep is far too important to our physical and mental health to be neglected. Whether it's from technology or a condition like sleep apnea, lack of quality sleep is a problem that needs to be addressed. Think you can use the help of an expert to get your sleep back on track? Contact Lane Sleep Study Center to learn how we can help.