sleep deprivation

Our smartphones are causing sleep deprivation. Not only adults are losing precious sleep. So are our teens. Even technology companies recognize the problem and try to come up with solutions. But I believe it is up to us to fight back and reclaim our precious sleep. And that of our sleep deprived teens. How can we do that?

Ping! A new e-mail. You pick up your phone to read it. Maybe it is good news? Hmmm…it is a negative e-mail. You put it down and try to sleep but you just can’t get the negative message out of your head. Recognize this? Or you get into bed and grab your tablet to read news or social feeds. Half an hour later you are still scrolling and the most interesting thing you saw is a crazy cat with a funny hat. Before you know it you are suffering from sleep deprivation.

A constant factor on our nightstands

Our smartphones have become a constant factor on our nightstands. From there they keep distracting us. Even in our beds. It is affecting the quality of our sleep.

The last few years our smartphones and tablets have become a huge part of our lives. We are constantly checking our social networks, watching videos, e-mailing and playing games. We start when we get up in the morning and stop right before we go to bed. Some don’t even stop there…

What many people don’t realize is that it is stealing their precious sleep. Our smartphones and tablets emit a blue light that simulates daylight. That prevents our brains from making melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep.

our teens are the first generation to spend their entire adolescence with smartphones

Sleep deprivation

Not only adults are sleep deprived. So are our teens. They are the first generation to spend their entire adolescence with smartphones. They spend a lot of time online and on social media. Their smartphone is the last thing they look at before they go to sleep.

Sleep is extremely important. It is a basic biologic need. When we are deprived of sleep many body systems fail. Our performance, memory and attention span suffer. Besides that our immune system and hormone production are impacted.

Sleep deprivation is also linked to mental health issues including depression and anxiety among both teens and adults

Sleep deprivation is associated with metabolic disease and increased appetite. Poor sleep is a risk factor for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Sleep deprivation is also linked to mental health issues including depression and anxiety among both teens and adults.

Our teens are more likely to be depressed and anxious than previous generations. Teens who don’t sleep enough perform more poorly in school

Even technology companies recognize the problem

Even the technology companies that make these gadgets recognize the problem. That is why they have recently introduced night shift mode (or something similar). When the sun goes down the light on your device becomes more dim and a bit yellow.

With iOS 12 Apple is doing its best to curb phone addiction and give you more tools to check how much time you spend on your devices. Not only will your device show you how much time you spend on your phone or tablet, but it will give you tools to help you tame your desire to be always connected. Android has a similar option.

It is time we fight back and reclaim our precious sleep! How?

Stop using your phone before bedtime

Stop using your smartphone or tablet at least an hour before bedtime. Just put it away and fight the urge to pick it up and check messages.

Mute your phone when it is on your nightstand

When you get into bed and put your phone on your nightstand put it in flight mode. Or mute it. That way you won’t get disturbed by incoming notifications.

Talk to your teens

Talk to your teens about using phones and tablets in their bedrooms. Tell them what the consequences are of using them right before bedtime. Or make a new “no phones in the bedroom after bedtime” rule. You can even put an app on phones that shuts them down during certain hours. There are routers available that you can program to shut down the WiFi at certain times. What about leaving phones and tablets in another room overnight? Or suggest doing something else like: reading a book, taking a bath, or writing in a journal before they go to bed.

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