Nighttime electronic usage increases risk of sleep disorders and disease

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woman-sleeping with cell phone(NaturalHealth365) Americans are not getting enough sleep according to information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In fact, the CDC reports that only 1 in 3 teens and adults are getting adequate sleep each night.

With sleep deficiency a growing epidemic in the United States, there are several reasons why Americans are developing a serious sleep disorder.  Unfortunately, too many people are quick to blame a ‘busy schedule’ or ‘racing mind’, but many health experts believe that sleep issues are getting worse due to wireless technology – specifically the use of mobile devices and electronics at night.

How ‘modern’ technology is putting our society in danger

More than 9 in 10 people admit to using electronics, such as tablets, smartphones or computers within one hour before bedtime – a few nights a week. But, what most people are unaware of is, the artificial light produced by these devices interrupt natural sleep cycles and affect both the quantity and quality of a person’s sleep.

Not only can poor sleep lead to daytime fatigue, but it can also lead to more serious health consequences, such as weight gain, adrenal fatigue and heart problems.

Artificial light from electronics actually threaten human health

The body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for regulating sleep, are directly affected by exposure to artificial light, such as LED lights. These lights contain blue light, which is known to be especially disruptive to the body’s natural sleep cycles.

Technology is driving adults to stay up later than ever before, as the body interprets artificial light in much the same way it does daylight. In fact, most people don’t know that, using electronics after sundown can suppress melatonin production – another major contributor to sleep regulation.

When melatonin levels are low, a person can develop a sleep disorder that causes difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep or getting adequate quality of sleep.

Unfortunately, lack of sleep and low melatonin production are associated with far more health problems than short-term drowsiness. In fact, low melatonin levels have been linked to many serious health conditions, including a higher risk of cancer, compromised immunity, diabetes and heart disease. In addition, people who do not get enough sleep are more prone to depression and motor vehicle accidents.

A great way to improve the quality of your sleep

Instead of looking to pills to cure a sleep disorder or using caffeine to compensate for a lack of sleep, unplugging from communications devices that produce artificial light may be the answer for a better night’s sleep. Avoid using cell phones and tablets or watching television in the last couple hours before bedtime. If you’re using wireless technology – at home – consider a ‘hard wire’ connection to reduce your exposure to unwanted microwave radiation, which can place too much stress on cell function.

And, finally, (if possible) remove all types of media from the bedroom, including televisions; and take steps to darken the room for sleep with curtains or an eye mask and, in some case, a warm bath could do wonders for improving your sleep time.

References:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep
http://www.webmd.boots.com/sleep-disorders/news/20130524/is-artificial-light-wrecking-your-sleep
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss
http://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use-

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  • Lee

    This is excellent information. As one option, even if exposed to blue light at night, blue-blocker glasses can permit the body’s circadian rhythms to function optimally, anyway. If you do an online search, you’ll find that a pair can be purchased for under ten dollars. (However, if you care about how you look wearing them, then you might pay more.)

    I found that by putting these goggles on at 8 pm, I can still fall asleep easily by 11 pm. Each person can experiment with what the best time would be to put the glasses on, but once the best time is determined, they really do the trick. In a similar vein, if you’re someone who wakes up at night to use the bathroom, keep a pair by your bed to block the effect of the bathroom lights.

    Beyond the above, black-out liners for the bedroom drapes will do wonders to foster deep and restful sleep. All department stores carry them, and they can also be found on line. Even though it may seem “dark” outside your windows, a whole lot of ambient light can still reach you. It’s advantageous to eliminate it.

    Finally, while I am a fan of warm baths as a relaxation aid, I would like to also recommend simple meditation before bedtime. Nothing fancy here. Just sit with your back erect (anywhere), relax, find a distant (boring) spot to stare at, and thoroughly follow the in and out of your breath–while staying attentive to keeping that focus. Yes–sensations and thoughts will most definitely arise that will pull you off that focus, but no worries. When they do, let them go, and simply return your focus to your breath (as many times as it takes!).

    Focusing on the breath is essential because it gives the brain something to do. (If you don’t give it something to do, it will go somewhere else–and where it goes can throw you back into life’s anxieties.) With meditation, because what you’re giving it to do is really nothing, this practice very completely rests the brain, and consequently, the body. But you won’t know that unless you try it. Even trying it daily for a few weeks will produce changes that (trust me), you will be thrilled about.