The other night after binge watching hours of The Office on Netflix, I noticed that not only was I more exhausted than I usually am at the end of a school day, but it also seemed more difficult for me to fall asleep. Additionally, even though I got the same amount of hours of sleep that I normally do, it seemed a lot more difficult for me to wake up in the morning and stay alert.
Over the years, technology has become a bigger and bigger aspect of our daily lives, but is it doing more harm to us than good?
More than three quarters of the United States population admits to watching Tv or using some type of electronic device within the hour before they go to sleep(https://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use-).
The blue light emitted from technology is one of the main reasons that watching TV before bed is not one of the best ideas in order to get a good nights sleep. Blue light suppresses the release of melatonin, which is typically triggered by the circadian rhythm, or the body’s natural clock. Since the circadian clock operates and secretes hormones according to whichever light the body is exposed to, the more blue light the body is exposed to, the more the body is going to think it has to stay awake and the production of melatonin will be suppressed.
Since it takes so long to fall asleep after looking at blue light for a long period of time, it makes sense that someone would be more tired the next day even if they got the same amount of hours of sleep that they usually do. Forcing yourself to fall asleep before your body clock is prepared to disrupts the circadian cycle. This disruption of the circadian cycle causes the body to get less deep sleep than it usually does because the usual amount of melatonin secreted before bed ends up being secreted much later in your sleep.
According to multiple studies done at Harvard Medical School, the blue light from electronics may be doing more than altering the bodies circadian rhythm. Some of the health risks that may be caused by this issue are diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Although the study only included ten people, all of the subjects were placed in the same situations. The shift in their circadian rhythms caused them to have an increase in their blood sugar levels, which is a cause for diabetes.