Our love of gadgets is costing us sleep

Our love of gadgets is costing us sleepYou know the routine: you've brushed your teeth, gone through your various nightly pre-bed bathroom routines, pulled back the bed-clothes... and now you're going to have one last quick whirl on your phone.

Now it's certainly no surprise to hear that this all-too-common nightly ritual doesn't go down all that well with partners, but a new study has revealed another side to using smartphones and other digital technology right before going to sleep: it interferes with your sleep habits.

The US-based National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that nearly 19 out of 20 people questioned in a recent study said they indulged in some kind of electronics use before going to bed – be it watching TV, gaming or checking in on Facebook or their email via phone. And fully two-thirds said they felt they didn't get enough sleep through the week.

The verdict, it seems, is straightforward: instead of getting some necessary shut-eye like we should, we're indulging our love of gadgets instead – and too our detriment too.

“Unfortunately, cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep at night leaving millions of Americans functioning poorly the next day,” said the NSF's Russell Rosenberg in a statement – and for Americans, needless to say, read everyone.

So in exactly what areas are we functioning poorly, then? Well, according to the NSF lack of sleep hits our work, our mood, our relationship with our family, driving habits, sex lives and health. On the plus side, we imagine it does make us better at using our phones...

Via Reuters

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emmajk42 / MOD  Mar. 7, 2011 at 13:02

I never really thought about this as being detrimental to my sleep. I usually read a book on my ebook reader or play a little game on my iphone, which knocks me out before bed. I might have to reconsider my habits...

lcurdie / MOD  Mar. 7, 2011 at 15:46

At the moment, I tend to play Fallout 3 till my eyes are no longer able to focus. That's usually somewhere around 4am.

JanSt / MOD  Mar. 7, 2011 at 20:27

The researcher claims that phones and computers made "our lives more productive". That is a very questionable statement - countless studies would call that statement delusional. It certainly relies on a very flexible definition of "productive". So, there goes my trust in his powers as an analyst. Pffft.

The other point: what would the people in question do otherwise? Sleep like a baby? Our sleep problems have to do with our lazy ass life styles. Work physically for 10 hours and then see if you give a hoot what some strangers think about you on Twitter on 2AM ;)

This sounds like a typical grant-**** cookie cutter study. Take a topical thing, add a perennial problem, shake it and whoa: social science.


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