Does this sound familiar? You’re about to turn in for the night, but suddenly remember you didn’t check your cell phone for voicemails. Or, maybe you need to send a couple of texts or tweets or you decide to glance at your Facebook page to see what’s going on with your 487 friends – using your iPhone.
If you get up the next morning feeling unrested, tired, and a bit out of sync, the culprit for your lousy sleep may not be that big meal you had the night before, but that little electronic device you hold in your hand throughout the day and night.
Let’s face it, for some of us – our cell phones, tablets, Kindles, and laptops have taken over our lives. And, not in a good way. We depend on them for the latest news, ball scores, contact with friends, relatives, and our social world. But, misplace one of these devices – and, it’s sheer panic.
But you don’t have to lose your device to lose sleep. All you need to do – is use it.
According to researchers, the blue-green wavelengths of light emitted from all cell phones, iPads, and other commonly used electronic devices can keep you from dozing off. In tests, these lights have been shown to disrupt the body’s sleep system and slow down the production of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin, which the body depends on and begins to produce as darkness falls in the evenings.
The result – using your cell phone to scroll social media before going to bed can adversely alter your normal sleep pattern. It could actually keep you from falling asleep for as much as an extra hour or more once you’ve turned off your phone.
Lead researcher, Professor Paul Gringras from the Department of Children’s Sleep Medicine at Evelina London Children’s Sleep Medicine and King’s College London, reports in his study that the use of electronic devices in the evenings is “likely to make you fall asleep later for many reasons: the brightness, the blueness, the stimulation.”
The study goes on to say that using these devices regularly at night prior to going to sleep will result in “more tiredness and a decline in motor dexterity and feeling of grogginess immediately after waking.”
It’s no secret that lack of sleep or sleeping fewer hours than your body needs to function at its optimum have been linked to many health ailments, including blood pressure, pre-diabetes, learning difficulties, mood swings, and weight problems.
For people who already have trouble falling asleep, spending time on your phone’s screen before bed only compounds the problem and feeds into a cycle that may be difficult to change. Doctors recommend not viewing a cell phone screen at least two hours prior to placing your head on the pillow.
Your health is important – so, make sure you’ve got the healthcare coverage you need to avoid paying a penalty for not having health insurance. Remember – January 31st is the last day to obtain a qualifying health plan.
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Do you think your phone use could be affecting how well you sleep? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.