The advancement of technology has resulted in widespread use of electronic devices which is prevalent among children and adolescents. About 3/4th of the American children and adolescents report one screen device in their bedroom and 60% of them reported regular use of electronics before bedtime.
In a study conducted on the Impact of Bedroom Electronics on Sleep Quality in Adolescents (2019): with 509 adolescents showed that the presence of electronics in the bedroom was associated with a decrease in sleep quality. Specifically, the presence of electronics in the bedroom was associated with an increase in sleep latency, a decrease in total sleep time, and a decrease in sleep efficiency.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of human health and wellness, yet it is becoming increasingly elusive in our modern world. With the proliferation of electronics, such as smartphones, computers, televisions, and gaming systems, it is more difficult for people to get the restful sleep they need.
The symphony of healthy sleep and electronics is getting harder to collaborate with the modernization of technology. The most vital aspect of survival is getting curbed due to the excess indulgence in the hand held machines.
The Science behind Electronic Sleep Deprivation
In a study conducted by the University of Basel in Switzerland which found that exposure to a blue LED light emitted from electronic devices significantly reduced sleepiness and increased alertness in participants.
Furthermore, the content of electronics can have a negative effect on sleep. People who spend much time playing video games or watching stimulating television shows may have difficulty calming their minds and bodies enough to fall asleep. Additionally, the blue light emitted from electronic screens can suppress the production of melatonin.
Finally, the use of electronics can disrupt sleep patterns by making it difficult to find a regular bedtime. People who spend a lot of time on their electronics late into the night can find it difficult to wake up in the morning, throwing off their daily schedule and making it difficult to withhold the daily turbulence of activities.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Blue light waves emitted from fluorescent, LED and back lit electronic screens like mobile phones; computer television etc can make falling asleep difficult and can also result in early wakeup. Other causes emitted from electronics are:
- Noise from electronic devices: Devices such as televisions, microwaves, and air conditioners can produce noise which can disrupt sleep.
- Overstimulation: Electronic devices can over stimulate the brain, making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Alerting effects of notifications: Receiving notifications from phones, tablets, and other devices can alert the brain and make it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
- Mental distraction: Using electronic devices before bed can lead to mental distraction and difficulty falling asleep.
- Light pollution: Devices such as computers, TVs, and cell phones emit light which can disturb sleep.
- Interference of circadian rhythms: The use of electronic devices at night can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythms and make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Social media: Social media can be stimulating and can make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Late night gaming: Gaming on electronic devices late into the night can keep people up late, making it difficult to get enough sleep.
The Effects of Electronic Device on Sleep
Electronics have a profound effect on sleep quality, due to the light they emit. Exposure to light from electronics can disrupt a person’s circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. By preventing the body from getting the darkness it needs to produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep, electronics can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
A study conducted at the University of Haifa in Israel found that using electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops in the bedroom was associated with decreased sleep quality and increased sleep latency.
- The use of electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets and computers can have a negative effect on sleep.
- The blue light emitted from electronic devices can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and can cause difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Exposure to blue light during the evening hours can reduce the body’s natural production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep.
- The use of electronics can also lead to a decrease in the quality of sleep, as well as increased fatigue during the day.
- It is recommended to avoid the use of electronics at least an hour before bedtime in order to ensure a good night’s sleep.
The effect of electronics has a overall long term contribution towards health hazard along with
- Decreased alertness during the day which can lead to accidents and injury.
- Increased risk of obesity due to late-night snacking or not getting enough physical activity.
- Mood swings, irritability, and difficulty concentrating due to lack of restorative sleep.
- Poor academic performance due to lack of focus, memory problems, and poor decision-making.
- Diminished immune system, making it easier to catch illnesses and infections.
- Increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke due to high blood pressure and increased stress hormones.
- Impaired coordination and balance due to lack of sleep.
- Increased risk of developing diabetes due to disrupted metabolism.
- Increased risk of developing cancer due to decreased melatonin production.
Here are some habitual remedies which if implemented can do wonders for your sleepy brain
According to the sleep foundation avoiding computers and other blue light emitting devices in the late hours is surely to be recommended, however if not you can limit the use of it and try to use it in the evening hours rather than in the sleep time. However there are other remedies to complement such as:-
- Establish a relaxing pre-sleep routine: Develop a consistent, relaxing routine that you do each night before bed.
- Avoid caffeine: Avoid caffeine late in the day, as it can interfere with your sleep.
- Get some exercise: Exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night.
- Avoid big meals before bed: Eating a large meal late at night can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Get a comfort pillow: A comfortable pillow can reduce the time of your alertness by effectively reducing the stress and pain in your body and can leave you dozing in your bed.
- Avoid alcohol: While alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night.
- Make your bedroom comfortable: Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet, and that your bed is comfortable.
- Turn off notifications: Turn off notifications on your phone or tablet, so you’re not disturbed by messages or alerts.
- Take a warm bath: A lukewarm bath can be a great way to relax before bed.
- Listen to calming music: Listening to calming music or natural sounds can help you relax and fall asleep.
All the activities are conducted by our brain. Sleep is a very delicate line between your active brain and your subconscious brain. Our subconscious mind has to perform learning and memory consolidation which can be achieved by reducing stress and giving it more time for progress. Electronics not only have a severe impact on our sleep cycle but also affect our health in several ways around. It is better if you give an hour of time, reading and relaxing your brain before sleep to get the maximum productivity which can be witnessed within a week of definite practice.