Technology is amazing and has improved the way humans live. We can speak to someone across the world with the stroke of a key. You can send photos via email. How about buying a book and reading it with one swipe on your phone? Technology has advanced our civilization and has given us new ways to cultivate healthy habits. However, technology can hinder our health as well.
Screens and technology affect your sleep in a negative way. It’s changing the way our brain works, butit’s not making it more efficient. On the contrary, the excessive use of screens and social networks,for example, curbs the development of the brain. This unhealthy habit can make you ill and caused lots of health problems.
How Sleep Works
If you want to know how technology affects your sleep, let’s look at how sleepworks.
Our sleep is regulated by an internal clock that makes us feel energized or sleepy during certain times of the day. Thisis calledthe circadian rhythm. The daily timing mechanism regulatessome body functions, releases hormones, and it tells our body when it is time to fallasleep or wake up. Some people have created such healthy sleep habits for themselves that they don’t even require an alarm to wake up. Their body has adjusted naturally to wake times and sleep times.
The circadian rhythm is controlled by brain receptors that respond to a very simple stimulus: the amount of light and darkness in the environment. The basic idea is that if there is light, your brain says Get up! Wake up!Whenthere is darkness, your body releases melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that all humans have, andit tells our body it’s time to sleep. That’s why when it’s dark, your brainwill tell your body that it’s timeto go to sleep.
How Screens and Technology Affect Your Sleep
The issue with technology and the arrival of smartphones is always that we have them near, even at bedtime. Not only this, but our houses are filledwith screens. When you’re in bed and holding your smartphone or watching TV, your brain becomes confused. The light emitted by the screens causes melatonin not to be released, which negatively affects your sleep clock and makes it lose the rhythm it had. The screen in front of your face makes your brain send the signal that you should be awake and alert,regardless of whether you are exhausted.
By the time you put the phone down or turn off the TV, your brain is jumbled. The last stimulus it received was telling it to wake up and get going. Your brainis basicallybeing forced to rest when it feels like it shouldn’t. Thisis how technology affects your sleep even after you’ve turned off all your screens.
Bedrooms should be a sanctuary associated only with sleep. Butif the bedroom is a place where you watch TV, use your tablet, or use your phone, your brain and body will become confused. The bedroom should be a forbidden zone when it comes to technology and screen time.
What Happens When Technology Affects Your Sleep
Losing sleep or not sleeping properlycan cause all kinds of health problems.
In the short term you may experience:
- Memory loss
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of motivation
The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are more serious:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
Creating healthysleep habits will keep you and your family healthy. Here are some tips to avoid letting technology affect your sleep:
- Remove all the screens from the bedroom. That includes TV, tablets, and smartphones. If you use your phone as an alarm,plug it in across the room and don’t play with it while in bed.
- If you want to use your smartphone before you sleep, you can, but it’s best to avoid using it for at least two hours before bedtime. Thiswill help the brain believe that you are ready for sleep.
- If you still want to entertain yourself with something before you go to sleep, you can. Read a book with a bedside lamp, write your thoughts by hand in a notebook, listen to some soft and relaxing music, or you can also use a device such as an e-reader as long as it does not have an illuminated screen like tablets.
Healthy habits are what build healthy lives. Fromelectronics to diet and exercise, beinghealthy means healthy habits. One healthy habit that everyone should have is regular annual visits with a physician. Medical care can be expensive, especially for those people and families without healthcare insurance coverage. Don’t let a lack of insurance prevent your family from healthy habits – like doctor’s visits. Contact HOPE Healthcare Services at 317-272-0708 to find out more about theCommunity Care program.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.