New Report: Technology is Ruining Our Sleep

New Report: Technology is Ruining Our Sleep
Image courtesy of Corbis Images

According to a new Reuters study “the national penchant for watching television every evening before going to sleep, playing video games late into the night or checking emails and text messages before turning off the lights could be interfering with the nation’s sleep habits.”

I know this will come as hilarious irony given my recent take on how obnoxious technology has made us, but this is something I am terrible about. On my bedside table I always have my Alienware laptop, Nintendo DSi, and Sony PSP, and I also generally bring my iPad upstairs with me.

Does this sound like you or someone you know?

“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,” Russell Rosenberg, the vice chairman of the Washington DC-based National Sleep Foundation (NSF), said in a statement.

It is one thing that it has infected adults, but the more pressing issue is how it has crept to younger and younger ages:

more than a third of 13-18 year-olds and 28 percent of young adults 19-29 year olds played video games before bedtime.

For those age groups sleep deprivation can have developmental impacts, which greatly concerned the authors:

Generation Z’ers, 13-18 year olds, were the most sleep-deprived group, with 22 percent describing themselves as “sleepy,” compared to only nine percent of baby boomers.

Sleep experts recommend that teenagers get 9 hours and 15 minutes of sleep a night but adolescents in the study were only averaging 7 hours and 26 minutes on weeknights.

“I am the most concerned about how little sleep 13-18 years are getting,” said Czeisler. “Kids today are getting an hour and a half to two hours less sleep per night than they did a century ago. That means that they are losing about 50 hours of sleep per month,” said Czeisle

So while I might be terrible about this personally, we have made sure that our kids have tech-free sleep environments: cell phones come to us before bed, neither kid has a computer or TV in their room, music is all off before bed and no handheld video game systems are left in their rooms. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it helps ensure that bedtime is sleeptime – we have had our kids cell phones buzz past midnight with friends who were awake and texting!

How do you deal with the invasion of technology in your sleep-time, and how do you deal with it for the rest of your family?

Source: Reuters

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

5 Comments on "New Report: Technology is Ruining Our Sleep"

  1. Is it that they are staying up later to keep playing or watching something, or is it the light emitted by the screen that is disturbing our sleep cycles?
    My wife read about the light we view before going to sleep causing problems in our sleep cycles, and we don’t let our son play computer or video games after dinner before going to bed.

    • The article cited more the artificial lighting, but it also hinted at the stimulus factor of the constantly-on electronic connection. I thought it was stated deeper, and I know I have read about it … but there has definitely been work done looking at the TV/computer/video game/cell phone brain activity impact compared to reading a book etc before bed.

      I wonder how reading an actual book compared to an iPad ebook (artificial light) compared to an ebook on a Kindle/nook (non-backlit e=Ink screen) would do in terms of sleep?

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