Smartphones and tablets in bed? Better not

Difficulty falling asleep, disturbed sleep, anxiety upon waking. Often it’s all the fault of the last text message of the night or social networks.

The continuous connection is changing the human brain and one of the most obvious consequences concerns the sphere of sleep. In short, even when we sleep we remain “on”, online, connected.

For this reason, neurologists launch the alarm: in the evening and at night, it is better to turn off everything or at least keep mobile phones and tablets at least 5 meters away from the bed, otherwise the risk of a sleepless night.

To disturb the rest are in particular the blue lights emitted by the displays, while being glued to large and small screens before going to sleep can cause headaches and dry eyes and therefore difficulty falling asleep. Before going to bed you should instead rest your eyes for at least half an hour.

Young people most at risk

“The human brain becomes an adult between the ages of 25 and 30,” explains Giovanni Biggio of the University of Cagliari. “If you sleep little from 12 to 20, it slows down neurogenesis. It means that melatonin – the substance that regulates the sleep cycle – is not secreted, the level of cortisol rises and the brain suffers. And if we think that from 2007 to today the hours of connection to the various telematic devices have gone from 7 to 14 for the very young between 8 and 18 years, we are facing a worrying phenomenon».

Responsible for insomnia and disturbed sleep are the inevitable anger on social media, the continuous notifications, online purchases just before turning off the light, in essence a multiplicity of visual, sensory and emotional stimuli at a time when our mind would need to relax.

Among the disorders caused by new technologies there is also charging anxiety, as emerges from a survey conducted by the Psychologists Association of Padua: going to sleep knowing that the smartphone has a few hours of “life” causes nocturnal anxiety in 41% of singles, worry and insomnia declared in 24% of respondents and even nightmares for 19 people out of 100. And in the United States the smartphone “sleeps”, just like a teddy bear, along with 3% of the population.

Good “sleep-saving” habits

To safeguard rest it becomes necessary to distance yourself (in all senses) from the various devices, at least in the evening hours.

The experts’ suggestion is a real test of strength: at night, the mobile phone must be kept off and all navigation interrupted and the room where you sleep should not contain any computer or even television.

Connecting before going to sleep is in fact 50% more likely to rest less or worse than necessary. That means more sleepiness during the day, with serious repercussions on health and quality of life.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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