Published on Mobiledia
By Kat Ascharya | November 26, 2013
My name is Kat Ascharya, and I am a recovering insomniac. I say that somewhat flippantly, like how people introduce themselves at a 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program, but I’m serious: I’ve had problems with sleep my whole adult life, and chronic sleep deprivation has compromised my mental equanimity, physical health and quality of life.
I’m not alone, either.
The National Sleep Foundation, or NSF, estimates that 60 percent of adults have trouble sleeping at least a few nights a week, according to the New York Times. With nearly 95 percent of all respondent reporting they browse the Internet, text or watch TV a couple of nights before trying to sleep, the NSF reported, all signs point to a potential link between a growing use of gadgets and sleep-related fatigue.
“[An LED screen] could be giving you an alert stimulus at a time that will frustrate your body’s ability to go to sleep later,” Dr. Brainard told the New York Times. “When you turn it off, it doesn’t mean that instantly the alerting effects go away. There’s an underlying biology that’s stimulated.”
When we’re exposed to artificial light, between dusk and bedtime, our bodies are blocked from being able to recognize day from night, according to the New York Times, and that suppresses the release of sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin, pushing our circadian rhythms to a later hour. And that glow from our gadgets, even a mere hour before bedtime — a pivotal moment when we transition from the day’s activities to nighttime relaxation — can keep us awake long into the night, and affect the quality of sleep we get when our heads finally hit the pillows.
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