It’s a habit we all can’t seem to shake.. checking Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook right before going to sleep. We all need to squeeze in those last minute late night tweets or comment on your girlfriend’s FABULOUS picture, but what is it really doing to our health?
According to research done by the American institutions of the National Sleep Foundation the “dependence on television, mobile phones and computers can be harmful for health.” America, which has become a technology dependent society, is doing more damage than they think. Charles Czeisler, a scientist at the Harvard Medical School suggests that “exposure to artificial light just before bedtime increases the metabolism and reduces the release of melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating sleep.” The light that reflects off a cell phone or television for example affects your sleep because the reflection of light passes through the retina into a portion of the hypothalmus and delays the release of melatonin. Our body requires melatonin before bed.
People are now sleeping less than their body requires and as a result are waking up the next morning feeling drowsy and unprepared for the new day. Social media before bed is the number one thing that causes sleep loss in our society today. Recent studies have linked this insomnia to depression, obesity, lower grades and even problems with regulating emotions.
Specifically, it is recommended to unplug all technology and not check in with any social media at least one hour before going to bed for the night. One hour gives the body enough time to prepare for optimal amount of continuous rest. The National Academy of Sciences conducted a study which led them to gather a dozen adults to participate for a two week period. After gathering the participants they asked half the group to read on an iPad for four hours before bed for five nights consecutively. The other half of the group read a traditional printed book before bed with a dim light setting, after one week the participants switched roles. Scientists had found what was expected, the iPad users had reduced levels of melatonin, it took them longer to fall asleep and even spent less time in restorative REM also known as rapid eye movement sleep. The participants also reported that after eight hours of sleep they still felt tired.
It is important to remember how necessary sleep is to our very being. We are responsible for feeding our body the essentials that it needs. People do not realize that sleep is just as important as nutrition or exercise. Turn the cells phones off and put those computers to sleep before you lay down for the night in order for your body to work to its full potential the next day.
“Kids Should Unplug before Sleep, Study Suggests.” N.p., 24 Jan. 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.
Dennis, Brady. “IPads, Tablets, Smartphones Disrupt Good Sleep, Study Finds.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.