How Technology Affects Sleep UpdateWe posted an Infographic look at how Technology affects Sleep a few weeks ago and have had an amazing response to it. It's even being translated into Chinese. For those that missed it, here it is again.

Gone are the days when all a bedroom contained was a bed, clothes and a few personal items. Modern bedrooms are now filled with a range of technology and gadgets, which means we have got constant access to our phones, tablets, games and more. But how does all this modern technology affect our sleeping patterns?

According to a National Sleep Foundation study:-

·         60% of 13-64 year olds experience problems sleeping

·         63% of those surveyed did not feel they get enough sleep

·         15% of 19-64 year olds get less than 6 hours sleep on weeknights

·         95% use electronics in the hour before they went to sleep

A lack of sleep has been linked with:-

·         Ongoing depression

·         Obesity

·         Diabetes

·         Cardiovascular disease

What is effect of self-luminous displays on sleep? A study from the lighting research centre suggests that the light emitted from displays of tablets and similar devices can cause melatonin suppression, which affects our natural body clock. By using a self-luminous display for two hours before bed, you can suppress melatonin by 22%, making it harder to get to sleep.

What is melatonin? Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland at night and under the conditions of darkness. It is known as a ‘timing messenger’, signalling night-time information throughout the body. Exposure to light at night, especially short-wavelength light, can slow or even decrease melatonin production, interrupting sleep. Suppression of melatonin resulting in circadian disruption has been implicated in sleep disturbances.

It seems we’re addicted to our phones.

·         95% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their phone right next to their beds

·         25% of people don’t silence their phone before going to bed

·         10% of all people are woken up regularly by calls, text or emails

·         50% will check their phone immediately if they wake in the night

TV’s and video games don’t help us nod off much either.

·         Television sets can make achieving sleep more difficult too. Not only can the light emitted affect melatonin levels, but TV can raise your heart rate, making it harder to sleep

·         The longer video games are played before bed, the lower both the quality and quantity of sleep. In terms of quality, REM sleep is decreased, which is important for encoding new information

·         The physical act of playing a video game makes your body tense, producing a fight or flight response which can cause the production of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland

It’s not all bad news. There are some technologies (both old and new) that you can use to help get that elusive good night’s sleep.

·         Reading a book under an indirect lamp will help you relax and get a good night’s sleep

·         Having a journal by your bed will allow you to get thoughts out of your head

·         Listening to gentle or relaxing music will help you drift off and get a sound sleep

·         Ebook readers such as Amazon’s Kindle do not have a luminous display and will help

If you want to get a better night’s sleep, cut the technology use and opt for a non-luminous e-reader, music or a good old fashioned book. It’s also a good idea to get a comfortable, high quality bed, which you can do from Big Brand Beds.

Sources: CNN, Pew Research, Sleep Foundation, Wikipedia, State of the Media, Primaloft, Daily Mail, Michael Gradisar and Elsevier Journals.