Sleep-Deprived Because of Your Tech? Why You Shouldn't Take Your Laptop to Bed
A new study finds that using your tech at bedtime seems to be making Americans even more sleep-deprived.
That means do away with your late-night iPad, cell phone, BlackBerry, video game and computer play and tuck yourself into bed. You might even try reading a good old-fashioned book for a change.
The results found that technology use in the hour before bedtime is common and can interfere with a restful night's sleep. The trend may stem from the fact that exposure to artificial light, whether it's emanating from a glowing TV or a laptop monitor, can increase alertness and suppress the release of sleep-inducing melatonin.
The most affected groups? Surprisingly, baby boomers in the 46-to-64 age range, who watch a lot of TV at night. Also video-gaming, cell-phone-obsessed 13- to 18-year-olds, who reported the highest levels of sleep deprivation.
"Unfortunately, cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep at night, leaving millions of Americans functioning poorly the next day," said Russell Rosenberg, the vice chairman of the Washington, D.C.–based National Sleep Foundation.
"Kids today are getting an hour and a half to two hours less sleep per night than they did a century ago," explained Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "That means that they are losing about 50 hours of sleep per month."
And often, even if your teenager does nod off, she's woken up by texts and phone calls. Which is why experts advocate removing gadgets from the sleeping area altogether.
"Parents should get these technologies out of the bedrooms of kids if they want them to do well [in school]," Czeisler said.
6 Steps to Better Sleep
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