A variety of studies show device use before bed could lead to heart problems, depression and more.
In our increasingly “always-on” world – where we are often expected to be awake and ready to interact with others at hours that disrupt the pattern of an already-intensive workday – many of us have ascertained the psychological reasons why we seem to be sleeping less and enjoying a degraded quality of sleep. But did you know that our technology – especially the screens that we so dutifully take into bed with us – has adverse physical and neurological effects as well? In a National Sleep Foundation study, 63% of those surveyed said they didn’t get enough sleep. Big Brand Beds, a UK company that sells bedding online, recently devised an infographic that pulls together recent research from various sources to show exactly how much we’re getting the short shrift these days.
Both reading and gaming can have equally adverse effects as long as both are done on a backlit screen. As the infographic indicates, we may not be feeling the cumulative effects right now, lack of sleep can come back to haunt us in the long run, possibly leading to ongoing depression, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So what can we do? As mini, luminous screens become more common even in devices that we use for reading, it might require self-control more than anything stemming from new gadgets or special alarm clocks – making a pointed decision, for example, to put your device away an hour or two before bed. Still, if you insist on sleeping near your phone, the wide range of sleep apps available might help negate its negative effects.