Scientists have long known that the use of electronics degrades our sleep quality, but disturbing new studies show that the effect is greater than previously known. As if there weren’t enough sleep quality problems to worry about, the majority of the population is addicted to their cell phones!
Snoring affects 37 million people (and their spouses) regularly. The Gallup reports that 46% of parents of young children are sleep deprived, too. Then there are the millions of people with insomnia and other sleep disorders, all of which keep us from getting the seven to nine hours of shuteye we need.
Now, scientists have discovered the surprising reason Americans are so chronically sleep deprived in the 21st century. Virtually all popular electronics, including televisions, smartphones, laptops, and tablets, feature LED screens that are backlit by blue-wavelength light. Unfortunately, our bodies and minds are hardwired to associate blue light with daytime, which means these devices trigger an automatic response that makes it harder to fall asleep at night.
Sleep hygiene is important, especially for younger people. With the use of cell phones until all hours of the night, it is not surprising that the next generation is falling into sleep deprivation.
Poor Sleep Quality? Electronics Are Messing with Your Brain
Before doctors will prescribe a medication like Ambien, they first encourage insomniacs to focus on sleep hygiene. This includes things like going to sleep and waking at the same time each day and night. Turning off electronics at least one hour before bedtime. Find a sleep position or bed that improves your comfort. Adjustable beds have made so many people more comfortable. Finally, avoid coffee after noon each day and don’t eat after about 8 p.m. nightly.
While putting away electronics has long been sound advice, only recently have scientists confirmed that blue light is the real culprit. Read our part II series on blue light in our upcoming post.