How Technology Impacts Sleep

In our 24/7 technology-driven society, it’s difficult to power down at the end of the day. Most of us are on a screen less than an hour before we turn out the lights. While it may seem relaxing to quietly surf Facebook or curl up in bed with your tablet to watch a Netflix episode, staring at a screen before bed can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Here are a few ways that your favourite gadget is impacting your sleep:

Disrupts Your Sleep/Wake Cycle The artificial blue light emitted from your smart phone or tablet suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. This sends your natural sleep/wake cycle into a tizzy by tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime.

Increases Alertness Even though your body is relaxing while you watch TV, your brain is on alert, processing the images and words displayed on a screen. This can delay the time you naturally nod off and can also reduce your amount of REM sleep, leaving you groggy in the morning.

Interrupts Sleep Make sure you keep your smartphone out of the bedroom. Every time your gadget lights up or makes a sound, it’s disrupting your sleep. Also ensure that your alarm clock isn’t in sight when you sleep. Studies show that the bright red numbers of your alarm can impact sleep, even when your eyes are closed.

According to sleep physicians, you should aim to turn off your screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Grab a book or dim the lights and allow yourself to unwind.