According to polls, teenagers are the sleepiest generation. Generation Y, the millennials or young adults, are next in line when it comes to sleepiness. Even though generation X said they were less sleepy, and baby boomers were even less so, each of these generations still reported feeling tired and didn’t get enough sleep on weekdays.
The poll also revealed that these people had one major thing in common—using electronics before bed. More than half watched TV with a pretty sizeable number used cellphones, laptops, or computers, and still, others used music devices and video games. It’s pretty certain that the reason we are so much more tired is the use of electronics, and we’ll go into why.
Just about every electronic screen will put off blue light, including TVs, phones, and computers. Unfortunately, even eReaders can emit blue light. Blue light affects the brain and can inhibit the production of melatonin which is a hormone the brain produces when it’s time to settle down for sleep.
The sun has blue light as well, but this blue light is accompanied by a red light. It is also part of the reason that humans typically get tired after the sun goes down. When our eyes are constantly bombarded by blue light, it’s harder for our brains to enter rest mode and it affects our natural circadian rhythm.
Too Much Stimulation
Sending a one or two text messages is one thing, and as long as it isn’t a stimulating conversation or debate online, it probably won’t affect you too much. Video games or shows that get you revved up, stressful conversations, or anything that gets your adrenaline going can make it much harder to fall asleep.
When you’re caught up in something very stimulating it often causes the release of adrenaline which makes it all but impossible to sleep, at least until you’ve come down from the rush.
Sleep gadgets and trackers can be beneficial for getting more sleep at night and even falling asleep sooner. They can help you understand your sleeping habits and sometimes even give you specific tips on how to improve them.
Even just sleeping with your phone next to you and keeping the notifications on can be a significant source of sleep disruption. When these little alert sounds wake you up, it’s no surprise that you aren’t getting the quality of sleep that you need.
Getting woken up by any random sound isn’t quite as bad as being woken by a mobile device, either. When you have the sound on your phone on all day, you become emotionally connected to those sounds as you periodically respond to them.
Addiction to Technology
When a person becomes so attached to their phone, computer, or any device, that they feel anxious being away from them or struggle to put them away it is a real sign of addiction. This can also interfere strongly with sleep. The worse the habit is, the more technology is likely to disturb sleep.
The addiction that leads to sleep disruptions is most familiar with smartphones. Of course, it can happen with any device that you are addicted to. There are a lot of ways to measure how addicted someone is to a device, but one of the main telltale signs is how a person feels when without their technology or Internet connection.
Things You Can Do to Sleep Better
One of the first things you can do is trying to make your bedroom free of electronics. Don’t have a TV in your room or use phones or computers in the same room that you sleep. Making this a habit could help you wind down easier without interruptions or distractions.
Stop exposing yourself to blue light half an hour or an hour before bed, if not longer. That means turning off the TV, putting the phone away, and basically getting away from all screens. You could also opt for some blue light blocking glasses or using the “night mode” that uses much less blue light on your computer or other screens.
In the evening avoid stimulating activities that get your adrenaline going or really engage your mind. Opt for more passive activities, like watching TV, rather than active activities, like playing video games or texting friends.