The Effect of Technology on Sleep

I┬árecently read an article that talked about how spending too much time using technology is having a negative effect on our sleeping patterns, and whilst it didn’t surprise me, I was curious to find out more on what was actually happening.

Usually, when it becomes darker in the evening, our body releases a hormone called melatonin, which has the effect of calming the body and preparing us for sleep. However, the majority of phones and other electronic devices with an LED screen, emit wavelengths of light that can disrupt and supress the effect of this hormone, therefore making you feel less tired and more alert. This can result in it taking over an hour longer to fall asleep than usual, which if only a one off, may not be so much of a problem, but if like the majority of us, you are doing this repeatedly each evening, then you are not only setting yourself up to feel tired the following morning, but are also increasing your chance of being diagnosed with a number of health risks.

For example, a lack of sleep can reduce your body’s response to insulin, therefore putting you at a greater risk of developing diabetes or becoming obese. As well as this, because your brain has not had enough time to recover, you may find yourself unable to concentrate for much longer than 20 minutes at a time, and it can also reduce both short term and long term memory.

However, it’s not all bad news, as there are already some apps and devices which are ‘sleep aware’ and use reduced blue-green light emissions to minimise the effect they are having on their customers.

But perhaps the easiest way to avoid these problems is simply to turn off your iPod or iPhone so you don’t spend all your time on it. Experts believe you ought to leave at least an hour between switching off and going to bed┬áto minimise the chance of being affected by it.

Thanks for reading!