Electronic devices and insomnia

Electronic devices and insomnia

Smartphones and tablets before sleeping

Let’s talk again about a bad habit, which has become widespread, and that is bringing electronic devices to bed before sleeping.
Checking the day’s news, the latest social media updates or playing the latest video games are all common activities before going to bed, but are they good for sleep?


Digital Insomnia

Many people find it difficult to fall asleep after using a smartphone, or tablet before going to sleep. This is because the light emitted by these types of devices (blue light) stimulates brain activity and consequently decreases the release of melatonin, the hormone produced by the body that helps maintain a healthy balance between sleep and wakefulness.

When melatonin levels in the body are low, it can lead to waking at night, difficulty falling asleep and insomnia, which is called Digital Insomnia when it is linked to an excessive use of electronic devices.


Science and sleep

As Prof Figueiro, a researcher at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, puts it: “An exposure of two hours to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22%. Stimulating the human circadian system at this level can affect sleep in people who use the devices before going to bed”.
Circadian rhythms (our biological clock) are sleep-wake cycles that regulate and set the pace of life, allowing us to grow, live well, concentrate and be strong. Electronic devices are not necessarily the real problem, often the problem lies in their misuse.


Advice for sleeping better

Considering that human beings spend, on average, up to a third of their lives sleeping, it’s worth making it as pleasant as possible. To sleep better, we can try to limit the use of electronic devices before going to bed, make sure we have the right mattress and pillow, try to establish a regular time slot for going to sleep and waking up, exercise regularly, and instead of chatting, emoticons and likes… read a good book! This is because reading relaxes the mind, slows it down, and makes it work in a less chaotic way than the typical flood of notifications from phones, PCs, and tablets.

And to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything, here’s a list of the 12 (+1) mistakes you shouldn’t make before going to bed.


Image by John Julian Matibag

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