Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sort-of Kind-of a Follow-Up to the Cell Phone Radiation Study Post

People are losing sleep because of gadget use, a study shows.  Only five percent of the people surveyed in the National Sleep Foundation poll said they do not play videogames, watch television, or use smartphones or laptop computers in the hour before going to bed.  This means that light-emitting screens are being used heavily in the "pivotal" hour before sleep, which may contribute to the high number of people who reported that they regularly get less sleep than they need.  According to Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School, the light emitting from gadgets such as smartphones and laptops interferes with the body's ability to release the natural sleep-promoting hormone and increases alertness, which makes it more difficult to sleep. Lauren Hale of Stony Brook University Medical Center says, "The higher use of these potentially more sleep-disruptive technologies among younger generations may have serious consequences for physical health, cognitive development and other measures of well being." Because activities done on videogame consoles and laptop computers are generally more stimulating than passively watching TV, researchers conclude that such activities before bed are making it even harder to sleep versus watching an hour of TV before bed.  Sleep-deprived gadget users polled that they use caffeine and naps to cope with their fatigue.
So, it sounds like we all need to turn off the laptop an hour or so before bedtime instead of falling asleep with it in our laps.  And that cell phone that you sleep with?  You should probably turn that off, too.  Technology is a great thing, in some aspects of life, but sleep is extremely important.  It is important not only to our health and well-being, but to our cognizant abilities that involve education, work, etc... as well.  I feel that sleep should be a main priority in everyone's life, and although I know that is not the case sometimes, I hate to see that it's because of something as silly as technology.  Sleep deprivation can cause car accidents, major mishaps at work, and that 43% you got on your Chem test yesterday.  So go to sleep!

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