Technology is a big part of our daily life. Without it, life may not be as convenient as it is now. We use technology at home, on the way to work, at work, on the way home, before bed, and even while sleeping!
While most technological advancements helped us in many ways, some of them have made it difficult for us to sleep. Availability and portability of screen is one big culprit of poor sleep. In this era of unlimited information and entertainment, we can pull an all-nighter almost every night! If not an all-nighter, you probably end up sleeping late!
We can’t deny the fact that the very technology that aids in our daily living and keeps us entertained can have devastating effects on our sleep pattern, and eventually cause sleep deprivation.
How can technology affect our sleep? What can we do about it? Read on to find out!
How Technology Impacts Sleep Quality
Your sleep may be affected by different technological applications. Here are some ways your sleep is being affected by technology:
1. Blue light keeps you awake.
When light enters through our eyes, our brain processes it to sensible images that we can comprehend. Light is composed of different wavelengths, and our brain takes a queue that it’s waking hours when there’s blue light.
The morning sky is the most prevalent example of blue light. Aside from the natural blue light that the sun emits, simple household lightbulbs and fixtures emit blue light. We can find blue light almost everywhere inside the house.
However, the biggest source of blue light is your mobile handset. Since it’s just at your bedside table or under your pillow, it gives you quick access to notifications, emails, mobile games, and the next episode of your favorite series.
When you use your gadgets at night, you’re exposed to blue light. As a result, your body will think it’s still early, so it will be more difficult for you to fall asleep.
2. Your brain is overstimulated.
Aside from the immediate effect of blue light on your wakefulness, technology also impacts our bedtime routine. Oftentimes, a bedtime routine that involves technology– like watching Tv or browsing social media may excite and stimulate the brain.
You end up watching the whole season instead of just another episode! The game you were playing is so engaging that you had to play one more round! The conversation is just so interesting that you had to reply one last time. Before you know it, it’s the middle of the night already! The shocking part, you didn’t even feel a bit sleepy!
When you finally noticed that it’s time to sleep, you just find it difficult because thoughts are racing through your mind, and they won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
3. It keeps you hooked.
Addiction comes in many forms. Social media addiction is a recognized addiction defined as excessive engagement to multiple social media platforms and compulsive use.
Playing a video game is another well-known addiction that afflicts many people today. With more powerful handsets that can run popular games, getting hooked with video games is so easy.
Video gaming and social media are just a few addicting stuff you can do on a mobile screen. Nevertheless, all these can be done on a computer screen, a laptop, or a tablet. Whatever your medium is, the addiction is real, and we are prone to it.
The big problem is, when you are hooked, you can’t get enough, and you go for more. Your brain is overly stimulated that you can’t find a way to sleep, and on top of that, the blue screen you are facing is signaling your brain that it’s not yet time to sleep.
What to do about the Negative Impacts of Technology
While addiction is a condition that may require intervention or therapy, there are a few things you can try on your own before seeking professional help. Here are a few interventions you can try to improve your sleep quality:
Limit blue light exposure a few hours before bed.
Since blue light tells the brain that it’s not yet time to sleep, one simple way to address it is to limit it. You can dim your lights to reduce blue lights’ intensity at night to tell your brain that night-time is approaching. You can even go further and change your bedroom lights to blue light free light bulbs.
You may also want to try using blue light blocking glasses or goggles. If you can’t help facing screens late in the night, these glasses can help prevent blue light from stimulating your brain.
Stay away from screens.
Your mobile phone, computer, or laptop is an unlimited source of information and entertainment, aside from emitting blue light. All the information, tv series, games, and other stuff over the internet keeps the brain overly stimulated.
It’s best to avoid engaging in these activities at night to avoid overstimulating your brain. If you can’t avoid reading at night, a book, a real book would be a better choice to minimize the blue light you are exposed to.
If you can restrict yourself from using screens a few hours before bedtime, that would be fantastic! Try docking your phone away from your bedside and see what happens.
Take control of your sleeping environment to promote rest.
Aside from the blue light restrictions, another way to improve your sleep quality is to take control of your sleeping environment and enforce a more relaxed and restful habit or routine as bedtime approaches. You play relaxing sounds like ocean waves or rain at night to mask other distracting noises outside.
If you are not that comfortable with your sheets, or pillow, you can change or upgrade them. If you have any sleep disorder, you may want to find medical pillows prescribed for the type of sleep problem you have.
Since technology causes sleep disturbance, simply taking it away from the equation can have a huge impact. However, since technology is deeply ingrained in our daily routine, taking tech from the equation may not really be that simple.
If you find it challenging to avoid gadgets and devices before sleeping, which is the case for most of us, promoting better sleep through the environment’s improvement is a significant first step.Last modified: August 31, 2020