Sleepless nights with your phone? You may have technological insomnia
Texts from your ex late on a Saturday night (or early Sunday morning?), compromising pictures that his friends post to Facebook… Social networks have robbed us of our sleep on more than one occasion, but our continued iDevice usage, especially before sleeping, could alter our sleep habits and even cause technological insomnia, a new sleep disorder related to technology use. Have you had sleepness nights due to insomnia?
No one can deny that these devices have increased our quality of living. They’ve helped speed up everyday tasks, made us more productive, and allowed us to stay in contact with old friends. But, even with all of these benefits, we need to take a serious look at the potential negative affects they have on our health. Sleepless nights leave us feeling tired and groggy the next day. If we could do something to avoid that feeling, wouldn’t we do it? The National Sleep Foundation has shown that the light that our phones, laptops, tablets, etc. emit activate certain parts of the brain and affect our ability to fall asleep.
Aside from causing sleepness nights and making it more difficult to fall asleep, nights with technological insomnia can provoke nightmares and make you wake up through the night (which is also called parasomnia). Hyperactivity is another consequence of this problem.
This type of insomnia can negatively affect academic performance in teens, just as it can affect productivity at work for many adults. Doctor Charles Czeiler from the Harvard Medical School conducted a study about technological insomnia and argues that “the invasion of this kind of technology in the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of participants who said that they usually get less sleep than they need.”
Experts also say that if we want to overcome this kind of insomnia, we have to put down the phone or tablet at least one hour before going to sleep. This way, our brain won’t be hyperactive and sleeping will come much easier. Reading a book or drinking tea are some recommended alternate activities that can replace looking at our phones.
In summary, using new technology in moderation is very important. We can continue to enjoy everything it has to offer without any of the negative side effects. Insomnia may not seem like a particularly dangerous disorder, but it could pose problems long-term as it affects our development. It is better to be fully informed of this disorder so you know what the potentially damaging affects are, as well as how to overcome it. Leave your phone on the nightstand before you get in bed. Remember that there are more other things besides messages from your ex that cause nightmares.
Molly is a writer specialized in health and psychology. She is passionate about neuroscience and how the brain works, and is constantly looking for new content from interesting sources. Molly is happy to give or take advice, and is always working to educate and inspire.
This post is also available in: Spanish