Technological advances have greatly improved connectivity and increased the level of comfort making life much easier. But these technological advances also come with a drawback. In an attempt to make life simpler, or to oversimplify life, these advances have given rise to numerous distractions that are negatively affecting the quality of our lives. One such side effect is the quality of sleep.
Yup, our quality of sleep is greatly affected by the very technology that is supposed to make our lives easier. We have become over dependent on electronic gadgets such as cell phones, computers, tablets, etc. that it has become difficult for us to put them down even during our bedtime. You might think, “What is the big deal in having a cell phone or tablet on the night stand?”
Well, you will chuck that thought right away when you realize the many negative effects of day-to-day electronic gadgets on sleep. Here are a few:
The screens of many electronic gadgets including, cell phones, televisions, tablets, and computers, suppress melatonin production in the brain. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm or in simple words the wake/sleep cycle. Hence, a drop in melatonin levels in the brain makes it difficult to fall asleep and keeps you awake. According to one study, people using electronic gadgets in the hour before bedtime are around 95 percent. If you do not use electronics just before bedtime, then you are an exception and are doing the right thing. Otherwise, it is best for you to stay away from electronics for at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.
Keeps the Brain Alert
Checking Facebook, catching up on news or knocking out some emails has become the bedtime routine for many of us. While we think we are being productive, what actually is happening is that we are keeping our mind engaged. This tricks our brain into believing that it needs to be awake and alert. Moreover, if you come across unpleasant news or read a negative email, it affects your mood negatively making it even harder to relax and fall asleep. Remember that televisions and video games are no good either. Most of us tend to turn to television for relaxation and falling asleep but it does the exact opposite. They result in an increase in heart rate and in turn affect the quality of REM sleep.
Some argue that while it is bad to use electronics before sleep, it is not a bad thing to have the gadgets on your night stand. The logic is that what harm they can do when they are not being used. The problem here is that when it is within your reach you are tempted to check them for any notifications or updates. It can be argued that one can control their urges, but it is easier said than done. Hence, it is best if you can make your bedroom a gadget-free zone.
The following infographic sheds more light on how electronic gadgets affect sleep.