Tech’s Impact on Sleep and Promoting Healthy Habits
People sleep for nearly a third of their lives, but most people have little knowledge of sleep.
All higher life forms, including humans, require sleep, even though its exact purpose is still unknown.
Skipping sleep has negative physiological effects.
This page explains the sleeping habits and gives a rudimentary grasp of how technology affects sleep.
Technology affects the brain, stimulates the mind, and makes it difficult to fall asleep, all of which have major detrimental effects on sleep patterns.
Your whole health is damaged when your sleep is negatively impacted.
The use of technology has greatly aided existence, but it also has negative effects on sleep..
The process of sleep impacts every part of our body.
Stages 1 and 2 of sleep are light sleep, while stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep and stage 5 is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, respectively.
All of these stages of sleep must be cycled through several times each night for sleep to fulfill its vital role of rejuvenating our bodies and minds..
Below are some sleeping patterns you should know:
- Sleep Period
A healthy sleep pattern is mostly dependent on getting a sufficient amount of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults should receive between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, while aged people over 65 should aim for between 7 and 8 hours.
Children require more hours of sleep due to their rapid growth and development, with age-specific guidelines varied.
While teens need between 8 and 10 hours each night, babies may need up to 17.
The amount of sleep that each person need varies. This depends on elements including your genetic make-up, daily routine, and amount of activity.
You might require more sleep than the guidelines advise, or you might do well with less..
- Sleep Continuity
Quality sleep is achieved when sleep is continuous.
It is more restorative to sleep through the night with few interruptions than it is to have frequent or protracted sleep interruptions.
Sleep disruptions prevent you from naturally transitioning through all four stages of sleep and may prevent you from receiving enough deep sleep.
- Sleep Schedule
A regular bedtime encourages restful sleep.
It is more challenging to fall asleep, stay asleep, and obtain the recommended amount of sleep when sleep time is not in sync with circadian rhythms, which is the case for many shift workers.
Here are several signs that you have a good sleep pattern in addition to examining your sleep schedule:
- Feeling renewed when you wake up
- Having enough of energy/strength throughout the day
- Being in a positive and right frame of mind
- Feeling mentally sharp
There are noticeable signs of an unhealthy sleep pattern as well, though.
You may have various symptoms, such as the ones listed below, if you are sleep deprived or have poor quality sleep every night:
- Finding it difficult waking in the morning
- Having trouble focusing
- Anxiety, depression, or irritability
- Needing to plan midday naps or experiencing daytime sleepiness
- Taking significantly longer naps as necessary.
Sleep cycle/ stages
About 90 minutes pass during a typical sleep cycle. For maximum freshness and restoration, you should sleep for four to six cycles per 24 hours.
The phases are described below.
- Non-rapid eye movement Stage One
About five to ten minutes into this period of sleep is light sleep.
At this point, your body and brain are starting to slow down and has become calm, and you are already dozing off.
If you’re awakened during this period, you could feel as though you never ever dozed off.
- Non-rapid eye movement Stage Two
Your brain waves slow down and your eye movement stops during this phase.
Sleep spindles are sporadic bursts of brain activity that are thought to help with memory storage and sensory deprivation so that sleep won’t be disturbed.
- Non-rapid eye movement Stage Three
In this sleep stage, you are in a deep sleep stage during which your muscles and eyes are completely at rest.
Your body is healing itself at this stage by developing new tissue, boosting your immune system, and constructing bones and muscles.
At this phase, it becomes increasingly challenging to wake you up, and if you are, you could have a period of confusion and brain fog that lasts for up to 30 minutes or an hour.
As you grow old, you spend less time in this stage and more time in the previous stage, i.e stage two.
- Rapid eye movement Sleep
During this phase, you dream. Your brain is working much harder.
Except for your eyes, which move quickly during this phase, and the muscles required for breathing, all of your muscles temporarily paralyze.
Your breathing becomes more rapid, and your blood pressure and heart rate both rise.
The initial stage of REM sleep typically starts around 90 minutes into your sleep cycle and lasts for about 10 minutes.
Even with the best of intentions, bringing electronics into your bedroom might have a detrimental effect.
There are tools designed to track your sleep and help you become more conscious of your sleeping habits, but they have several limits.
These tools are technological tools some of which includes:
- Smart phones
- Desktop and laptop computers
- Video game consoles
- Smart home hubs like Google Home device or an Amazon Echo.
Sleep disorders and sleep deprivations
Conditions known as sleep disorders cause changes in how you sleep in so many ways.
Your over all health, safety, and enjoyment of life can be very much affected by a sleep disturbance.
Lack of sleep will make it difficult for you to drive safely and it can also raise your chance of developing other health issues.
Here are some common sleep-related warning signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Having trouble staying awake when not active (like when watching TV).
- Concentration issues.
- A sluggish response time to others.
- A decline in motivation.
- A rise in moodiness or temper
- Constant yawning
- Long stretches of sleepiness.
- Need numerous power naps (sleeping in short periods).
- You’re constantly exhausted.
Impact of technology on our sleeping patterns
Technology-based tools are now essential for managing daily life. Certain technologies, though, might disrupt or harm sleeping patterns. These include devices with screens that emit blue light, such as computers, tablets, cellphones, and televisions. Evening blue light overexposure can make it more difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Technology use can interfere with sleep time and lead to overstimulation before bed if it is not carefully handled.
Darkness or low light start chemical changes that encourage sleep, while light starts biological processes that make us feel awake.
Adverse effect of technology on sleep :
- Using electronics before bed tends to shorten the amount of time you actually sleep.
- Technology stimulates the mind and interferes with falling asleep since it has an effect on the brain.
- Sleeping close to devices might result in unwelcome awakenings from sounds and blinking lights.
- Many devices emit blue light, which interferes with melatonin production and can affect your circadian rhythm. Melatonin is the body’s hormone that promotes sleeping patterns.
Even if you set your phone or other devices to silent mode, keeping them in your bedroom increases the temptation to check them if you wake up in the middle of the night, perhaps making it harder for you to go back to sleep..
Promoting healthy sleep habits
Good sleep habits or sleep hygiene can help you get a good and enough night’s rest.
Some habits that can promote healthy sleep habits:
- Maintain consistency by going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, even on the weekends.
- Ensure that your bedroom is peaceful, dark, and at a pleasant temperature.
- Take out any electronic gadgets from the bedroom, including TVs, computers, and smartphones.
- Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before bed.
- Exercise: Being physically active throughout the day can make it easier for you to sleep at night..
When you get enough sleep each night, sleeping mostly undisturbed, and keep a regular sleep pattern that coincides with your circadian rhythms, you’ll benefit from sleep the most.
Create sound sleeping habits and set aside enough time each night to get enough sleep.
Do not rely on sleep technology to be your only help for sleeping, rather, use it to support good sleep habits.
References - https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html#:~:text=Remove%20electronic%20devices%2C%20such%20as,asleep%20more%20easily%20at%20night. - https://sleepeducation.org/how-technology-helping-hurting-sleep/#:~:text=Studies%20have%20shown%20a%20link,30-60%20minutes%20before%20bedtime. - https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/technology-in-the-bedroom#:~:text=Using%20devices%20tends%20to%20delay,when%20sleeping%20next%20to%20electronics. - https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354018#:~:text=Sleep%20disorders%20are%20conditions%20that,risk%20of%20other%20health%20problems. - https://health.clevelandclinic.org/your-complete-guide-to-sleep/#:~:text=An%20average%20sleep%20cycle%20lasts,eye%20movement%20(REM)%20sleep.