In today’s world, an increasing number of people are reportedly coming down with various sleep disorders. According to stats, over 1.2 billion people worldwide suffer from a variety of sleep issues. Believe it or not, going to sleep is a lot harder than it used to be, even when we are exhausted.
Recently, over 37.9% of employees confessed that they have unintentionally fallen asleep during the day or at work in the last 30 days. Between 2010-2016, a prominent rise in complaints of insufficient sleep among 18-24-year-olds was recorded, with 60% of this age group being affected.
Unsurprisingly, technology has a lot to do with these sleep disorders. A recent survey reveals that 95% of people use technology in one way or another within an hour before bed. Exposure to lights emanating from most of these technological devices can affect the body’s levels of melatonin – a hormone that regulates our internal clock.
Below are some of the ways technology is affecting our sleep.
Blue Light Emission
Blue light is the type of light that most of our electronic devices emit. It is known to affect the production of melatonin in the human body, which regulates our sleep cycle. It is usually released at night to induce sleep, thereby signaling the brain that it is time to go to bed.
That said, exposure to blue light just before bedtime can delay melatonin production, signaling to the brain that it is not yet bedtime, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
The effect of blue light on an individual is dependent on various factors such as:
- the wavelength of your electronic device
- total time spent interacting with your electronic device before sleeping
- how often you interact with devices before bedtime.
Therefore, spending hours watching your favorite TV show before going to bed is a big no-no.
Noise from Tech Devices
Technology can affect your sleep in several ways, and noise is one of them. Notifications and vibrations from your phone are just a few ways that sound can disrupt your sleep. Research has shown that you are more likely to be disturbed by sounds from your mobile device than other forms of noise while sleeping.
With over one-fifth of Americans reportedly known to sleep with their phone notifications on, it is no surprise to hear that 10% also complain about sleep disturbances in the middle of the night due to noise.
Stress and Overstimulation
Some of the ways by which you engage with technological devices can deprive you of rest and sleep. Activities like playing a video game just before bedtime is a perfect scenario. Video games are capable of producing an adrenaline rush in the body, which can keep your brain stimulated to prevent you from falling asleep.
Also, stressful events like working right before bedtime can make it hard for your brain to shut off.
Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMFs)
Electric and magnetic fields, also known as radiation, are invisible energies produced in low and high frequencies by some of your tech devices. Devices like Wi-Fi routers, mobile phones, TV signals, radio signals, and wireless telecommunications produce low-frequency radiations.
According to some experts, the usage of devices that produce low-level EMFs before bed can affect your sleep. To prove this, research was carried out on two sets of subjects to determine the effect of real and fake mobile phones on sleep just before bedtime. The results show that subjects who interacted with fake mobile phones had better sleep time and almost no trouble sleeping, compared to those who interacted with real mobile phones before going to bed.
How to Prevent Technology from Disturbing Your Sleep
Dim the Lights Emanating from Your Devices
Since the blue light from most technological devices is a major concern to your sleep, it would only be wise to either eliminate blue light or place it at a minimum where it does not interfere with your sleep.
Cultivate a Bedtime Routine
Cultivating a bedtime routine can help you relax and put your body in a state of sleep, such that anytime you kick off such a routine, your body recognizes that it is time for sleep. Performing this bedtime routine effectively can help you fall asleep without stress.
A good example would be to take a warm bath or read a book just before bedtime. However, the same routine might not work for everyone. Hence, it is important to try out several routines to discover what works for you.
Keep Electronic Devices Outside Your Bedroom
Sleep experts around the world advise against bringing your tech devices into the bedroom. By doing so, you will train your brain to recognize the bedroom as a place for sleep, not for work.
Despite the fun that comes with the use of technological devices to relax before bedtime, it should not be allowed to get in the way of your sleep. Most of the problems associated with sleep deprivation take time to manifest. As a result, you might not feel the effect immediately, but it is better to avoid them entirely.
Before I started working as a sleep expert, I always envied people who were passionate about their jobs. Now I finally have an opportunity to do something I truly enjoy, and no, I can’t sleep at work! 🙂 For me, it’s definitely as good as it gets—as I spend a considerable amount of time lying down on various mattresses. Apart from testing sleeping products, I do thorough research and inspect every little bit about both the company and their product before I prepare a review to help guide you to your ideal sleeping situation. Plus, I work tightly with other sleep experts and medical writers to provide you with valuable information and helpful advice about sleep.