Gadgets Interfering With Your Sleep? Here’s Why
If you head off to Dreamland as soon as your head hits the pillow – you may consider yourself one of the lucky ones. For some people, falling asleep at the end of the day is a task as formidable as hitting all your working deadlines.
Recent studies tie our sleep problems to the overuse of gadgets before bedtime and blame a lot of that tossing and turning on the blue light emitted by most of consumer electronic devices.
So, how bad is it and does it mean we should give up having that last look at social media before bed?
The primary reason for concern is that today’s gadgets seem to mess with our circadian cycles – a fancy term for the changes taking place in our body at different times of day.
While it’s not news to anyone that a lot of our daily activities depend on light, we may have underestimated its importance in controlling the way our bodies operate.
Basically, whenever we see light – especially gadgety blue light – our brain takes it for sunlight and sends our body a signal to stay awake. It does so by reducing the level of melatonin, a “sleep hormone”, that you may see as the main ingredient of most sleeping medication. Once your melatonin level drops, you will find it difficult to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep will suffer as well.
According to researchers at Northwestern University, using a laptop or smartphone close to bedtime, even if only for a short time, is sufficient to stimulate your brain to stay alert and delay the ability to sleep
So what can we do in this situation?
The idea of giving up our night time news reading or playing that farm game before falling asleep seems much scarier than staying awake through the whole night.
Luckily, there are more humane ways of both preserving your quality of sleep and fully indulging into your gadget addiction
Here’s what you can do.
If you spend most of the time working on your PC or laptop and even spend some quality computer time before bed, your sleep may benefit significantly from a program called f.lux. Available for both Windows and Mac, f.lux adapts the colour of your computer screen to the time of day, slowly reducing the level of blue light towards the evening. You can also use the program on your smartphone or other handheld devices that often see you off to bed. All the adjustments made to your screen will be automatic and based on the time of day in your time zone. So you will be able to take the matter out of your own hands and mind and focus on getting that beauty sleep.
Another option you could explore is wearing blue light-blocking goggles when working with your gadgets later in the day. One of the major benefits here is that the goggles will be blocking out all sources of the unwanted light, covering your whole gadget collection as well as indoor lighting. Unfortunately, the goggles are not yet equipped to phase out the ridicule you may be facing from your friends and family when parading around the house in futuristic eyewear.
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