Go Unplugged: Four Ways Technology Impacts Your Sleep Quality
We’re all guilty of checking our cell phones before bed or binge watching the latest new series on Netflix into the wee hours of the evening. You shouldn’t spend much time on electronic devices before you sleep, but how much damage are you doing to your sleep cycle?
It turns out, an awful lot.
Technology has become such a constant presence in our daily lives that we rarely think twice about it. Unfortunately, this can have a significantly negative impact on the quality of rest we get at night.
Here are five reasons for you to close the iPad or turn off the television well before bedtime.
1. Electronic devices wake you up. Various lights and sounds accompany cell phones and tablets. Just because you’re not actively using your electronic device doesn’t mean it’s not interrupting your sleep and keeping you awake. Bells and chimes indicating incoming texts, calendar reminders, and social media updates will disturb your sleep and, over time, negatively impact your rest.
2. Electronic devices also keep you awake. Working, watching a movie, or reading and writing emails are all activities that trick your brain into thinking that your body needs to stay awake. Technology provides too many physically and mentally stimulating activities. If you get upset by a negative email or social media post, your adrenaline levels will rise, making it much more difficult for you to relax and get any good rest.
3. Technology suppresses melatonin levels. Melatonin is an important hormone secreted by a gland in the brain that regulates sleeping/waking cycles and body rhythms. This hormone naturally increases in the evening hours to help promote sleep. Because electronic devices emit blue light, exposure to this light at night restricts the creation of melatonin. The blue light deceives the body into thinking that it is daytime and naturally ceases the production of melatonin, making it harder to both fall asleep and stay asleep.
4. Electronic devices promote a learned association that hurts our sleep cycles. Technology in our bedrooms fosters a learned association that bed is a place to work, socialize, study, and be entertained. The more technology we bring into our bedrooms, the less we view bed as a place for rest. We train our brains to see the bed as an entertainment or work zone, not as a quiet environment for sleep.