Technology Leading to Higher Rates of Sleep Deprivation
Technology is ever-present in today's society, but the devices that help make our lives more efficient are also making us more sleep deprived, according to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, WebMD reports.
''This year's poll really does focus on the technology and electronic devices people are using, devices that have become ubiquitous in our society," said Russell Rosenberg, PhD, director of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and Technology and the chair of the Sleep in America 2011 task force.
The results of the poll show that the usage of cell phones, computers, and video games in the middle of the night and before going to sleep leads to sleep deprivation. The poll's results also coincided with a sleep study conducted by the CDC, showing that a third of adults in the US get less than 7 hours of sleep per day.
Dr. Rosenberg suggests not using technology before going to sleep, and gives two reasons.
"One has to do with the light exposures that people get with the computer screen [and other screens]. The light suppresses a hormone that is supposed to tell the brain it's time to sleep. And that hormone is melatonin, he said.
Michael J. Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and professor of clinical neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University says that the light emitted from screens when using technology devices can affect circadian rhythms.
"The new thing here for me [from the survey] is that as we are moving into this highly technological age, Thorpy said to WebMD. We are now starting to get information about the use of these technologies and the fact they will influence sleep-wake cycles."