Guilty as charged! I admit that I used to keep my phone next to my bed and it turns out that I’m not the only one. Studies from the US show that 95% of people are using their phone just before going to sleep and 90% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their smartphones. As people grow older their fondness for keeping their phone next to their bed decreases but still 70% of 30 to 49 year olds do so. Half of people in the same survey said that they check their phones immediately if they wake up during the night.

A third of people take their love for their phone even further and would rather give up sex than their phone.

So, what is the result of our addiction to technology? Our bodies aren’t in tune with our change in lifestyle. Studies show that 2 hours of exposure to light from electronic displays such as cell phones, televisions, tablets and computers reduces our level of melatonin by 22%. Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle and without enough melatonin it’s more difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Bright lights have also been shown to not only make us less sleepy but also reduce the nightly drop in core body temperature that is required to fall asleep.

It’s no surprise then that 63% of people who use gadgets before going to bed wake up tired.

Not only does the light from our phone prevent us from going to sleep, we also keep our brains alert by engaging in technology whether it be checking our Facebook page, emailing or reading the news. To fall asleep, we need to start to unwind and give our brains a chance to relax. Staying asleep can also be difficult if our phones are pinging and vibrating from incoming messages. For a good night’s sleep make sure to switch off your electrical gadgets one hour before going to bed and make sure that the bedroom is a room for sleeping and intimate moments—not surfing the web or working.  

Sources: The Use of Technology at Night: Impact on Sleep and Health, M. Grandner, R. Lang Gallagher, N. Gooneratne. Impact of Lifestyle and Technology Developments on Sleep, T. Shochat. Pew Research Centre (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2010/09/13/do-you-sleep-with-your-cell-phone/) , (http://www.today.com/news/world/survey-one-third-would-rather-give-sex-phone-flna121757)