Computers and smartphones are being blamed for an epidemic of sleep deprivation. Our favourite gadgets emit a special type of light that makes it more difficult for us to relax and sleep well.
Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire said: “
The blue light from these devices suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so it’s important to avoid them before bedtime.”
It is estimated that more than half the UK population get no more than seven hours of sleep a night and; according to Professor Wiseman, this is a concern. Sleep deprivation is associated with a range of problems, including an increased risk of weight gain, heart attacks, diabetes and cancer.
The Professor advises us to avoid computers and smartphones in the two hours before bed. If you are reading this and technology isn’t a cause of your insomnia, the Professor has other tips to get a good night’s sleep. They include:
- Making a list of things to do the next day to stop them playing on your mind….presumably a handwritten list because we now don’t want to be using technology so close to bedtime!
- Move your bed to face the door and as far away from it as possible. This is because we have evolved to feel safest and most relaxed when we can spot danger and have time to run away.
- Use the power of association by playing the same music at bedtime. Over time, your brain will associate the music with sleep and listening to it will help you nod off.
- Avoiding nightcaps. Disappointingly, while a small amount of alcohol puts you to sleep more quickly, it means your sleep will be more disrupted. How unfortunate!
I fall into the technology trap, especially if I’m working late but I’ll give the two hour curfew a try to see if it makes a difference. Too late to give it up for Lent though!
Thank you for reading.