Too Much Time Online Cuts Sleep
A study team examining patterns of sleep in Germany trace insufficient rest to spending too much time online. The investigators, from Italy’s Bocconi University and the University of Pittsburgh, report that in Germany insufficient sleep has led to the loss of 200,000 working days per year at a cost of $60 billion.
They found that access to high-speed internet cuts sleep duration. It also decreases satisfaction with sleep among individuals who have to get up early in the morning for work or family responsibilities. The team reported that these people tend to sleep 25 minutes less per night than their counterparts who don’t have broadband internet, and that they are significantly less likely to sleep the recommended seven to nine hours per night. The study also showed that teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13 and 30 often don’t get enough sleep because of the time they spend on computer games or watching television or videos in the evening. Among older adults age 31 to 59 similar loss of sleep is linked to the use of personal computers and smartphones.
My take? This study’s findings provide additional insight into the toll using tech devices prior to bedtime takes on the duration and quality of sleep. Because of the light they emit, use of smartphones, tablets, and computers in the late evening can lower levels of melatonin and shorten REM cycles. You can significantly improve the quality of your sleep by turning off technology one to two hours prior to bedtime. Better yet, given the extent of sleep deprivation associated with accessibility to these devices, I suggest keeping and charging your smartphones, laptops and iPads overnight somewhere other than the bedroom.
Francesco C. Billari et al, “Broadband internet, digital temptations, and sleep.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, September 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.07.001
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