Does this sound familiar? It’s 11pm, you hop into bed ready to catch some serious Z’s. You’re not quite ready yet though, so you pick up your good ol’ iPhone/MotoX/Samsung and fire up a quick game or go a ‘brief’ flick through facebook.
Before you know it, it’s 2am, you’re wired, and you realise you have 4 hours until you have to get up for that important meeting!
It’s a common and harsh reality of our ever-connected (and addicted) world that our trusted handsets are the nemesis of sleep.
There have a been a number of studies lately that reinforce the belief that we seriously need to disconnect from or connected worlds in the evenings, particularly seeing as sleep is the foundation of our wellbeing.
One such study being a survey of 9,846 teenagers aged 16 to 19 in Norway, which took 2 years to make and published earlier this year in the medical journal BMJ Open.
The teens took recordings of their sleep patterns as well as the devices they used throughout the day, with a focus on the hour before bedtime. The results? What researchers call a “dose-response relationship” — the more you feed yourself with devices, the higher your risk of sleeplessness.
“Almost all adolescents reported using one or more electronic devices during the last hour before bedtime,” the Norwegian scientists wrote. “Extensive use of these devices was significantly and positively associated with SOL [sleep onset latency, or the amount of time it takes to nod off] and sleep deficiency, with an inverse dose–response relationship between sleep duration and media use.”
You can tell yourself – A cheeky game of Football Manager won’t hurt? – but the numbers don’t lie!
So what’s the skinny here? Well, it appears the blue light emitted from our handsets interferes with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin within the brain.
But it’s not just that you are using your smartphone, it’s the kind of activity you’re doing. Checking the latest Social Media up-to-date news is likely to be over-stimulating your brain and the likes of Candy Crush can raise you heart rate and induce your fight or flight response.
In reality, Science doesn’t have all of the answers yet, but they’re working on it of course; that’s the kind of thing the men i white coats do.
In the meantime, the solution is probably sitting right next to you on your bedside table; yes, that Jack Reacher book you bought at the Airport to read on the beach for on your last holiday.