The Washington Post

Does your connected life make you lose sleep?

A study from the National Sleep Foundation on the relationship between communications technology and sleep has found that 43 percent of Americans say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep.

Nearly 95 percent of those surveyed said that they use some kind of electronic device in the hour before bedtime. Those between the ages of 13 and 29 were far more likely to use interactive technology, such as the Internet, cell phones and video games in that hour than passive technology such as televisions. Still, about 61 percent of those surveyed said they use a computer or laptop within an hour of going to bed.

The problem, according to the NSF, is that artificial light — such as the glow of a screen — can be disruptive to the body’s production of melatonin, which helps you sleep. Participating in interactive activities also keeps your brain engaged, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Gadgets beeping and blinking can also disrupt your sleep, of course, and the study found that around a tenth of 13- to 18-year-olds, a fifth of those ages 30 to 64 are awakened by their cell phones at least a few times a week.

The study recommends sticking to a sleep schedule, avoiding bright lights in the hour before bed and to avoid taking late afternoon naps to help you catch up on sleep.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.


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