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TV or computer use in evening can disrupt sleep

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Altostrata

ADMIN NOTE Sleep disruption from computer use is a real thing. If your sleep is poor and you want it to be better, STAY OFF THE COMPUTER AT NIGHT.

 


 

I've found computer use in the evening disrupts my sleep. If you have sleep problems, turning off the computer a couple of hours before bedtime may help.

 

This is from a recent report from the National Sleep Foundation:

 

National Sleep Foundation Releases Annual Sleep in America Poll

Exploring Connections with Communications Technology Use and Sleep

 

WASHINGTON, DC, March 7, 2011 – The 2011 Sleep in America® poll released today by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) finds pervasive use of communications technology in the hour before bed. It also finds that a significant number of Americans aren't getting the sleep they say they need and are searching for ways to cope.

 

Many Americans report dissatisfaction with their sleep during the week.

The poll found that 43% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night's sleep on weeknights. More than half (60%) say that they experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night (i.e., snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early, or feeling un-refreshed when they get up in the morning.)

 

....

Communications technology use before sleep is pervasive.

Americans report very active technology use in the hour before trying to sleep. Almost everyone surveyed, 95%, uses some type of electronics like a television, computer, video game or cell phone at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed. However, baby boomers (46-64 year olds), generation X'ers (30-45 year olds), generation Y'ers (19-29 year olds) and generation Z'ers (13-18 year olds) report very different technology preferences.

 

About two-thirds of baby boomers (67%) and generation X'ers (63%) and half of generation Z'ers (50%) and generation Y'ers (49%) watch television every night or almost every night within the hour before going to sleep.

 

"Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour—making it more difficult to fall asleep," says Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. "This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep. Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need."

 

Computer or laptop use is also common. Roughly six in ten (61%) say they use their laptops or computers at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed. More than half of generation Z'ers (55%) and slightly less of generation Y'ers (47%) say they surf the Internet every night or almost every night within the hour before sleep.

 

"My research compares how technologies that are ‘passively received' such as TVs and music versus those with ‘interactive' properties like video games, cell phones and the Internet may affect the brain differently," says Michael Gradisar, PhD, Flinders University (Australia). "The hypothesis is that the latter devices are more alerting and disrupt the sleep-onset process. If you feel that these activities are alerting or causing you anxiety, try doing something more ‘passive' to help you wind down before bed."

 

Generation Z'ers (36%) and generation Y'ers (28%) are about twice as likely as generation X'ers (15%) and baby boomers (12%) to say they play a video game within the hour before bedtime at least a few times a week. More than one in ten (14%) of generation Z'ers say they do so every night or almost every night before going to sleep.

 

"Over the last 50 years, we've seen how television viewing has grown to be a near constant before bed, and now we are seeing new information technologies such as laptops, cell phones, video games and music devices rapidly gaining the same status," says Lauren Hale, PhD, Stony Brook University Medical Center. "The higher use of these potentially more sleep-disruptive technologies among younger generations may have serious consequences for physical health, cognitive development and other measures of wellbeing."

 

Cell phone use, specifically texting and talking on the phone, shows a significant age gap. More than half of generation Z'ers (56%) and nearly half of generation Y'ers (42%) say they send, read or receive text messages every night or almost every night in the hour before bed compared to 15% of generation X'ers and 5% of baby boomers.

 

Cell phones were sometimes a sleep disturbance. About in one in ten of generation Z'ers (9%) say that they are awakened after they go to bed every night or almost every night by a phone call, text message or email. About one in five of generation Y'ers (20%) and generation Z'ers (18%) say this happens at least a few nights a week.

 

"Unfortunately cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may also be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep at night leaving millions of Americans functioning poorly the next day," says Russell Rosenberg, PhD, Vice Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation.

 

....

See Annual Sleep in America Poll Exploring Connections with Communications Technology Use and Sleep http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use-

Edited by Altostrata
updated

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Altostrata

If you are at all light-sensitive, or find your sleep is disrupted by too-late computer use, I suggest turning the brightness on your computer monitor down.

 

Also turn the brightness down on your flat-screen TVs if you watch it in the evening. Those LED TVs are very, very bright.

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tazziedave66

I use a program called F.lux it adjust the screen temperature the claim being it helps with sleep problems .. search for flux

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Jemima

Does anyone know if this also applies to a Kindle? I just ordered one that's supposed to "read like paper". Not sure if the brightness can be adjusted, which certainly helps a lot with the computer.

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Altostrata

I use a program called F.lux it adjust the screen temperature the claim being it helps with sleep problems .. search for flux

 

tazziedave, did you try this because you had sleep problems? Did it help?

 

Thanks for pointing this out. f.lux is a free program here http://stereopsis.com/flux/

 

It's interesting that the inventor mentions sleep problems caused by too-bright screens.

 

Jemima, you might write the inventor. It's available for a bunch of platforms, Kindle not mentioned.

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Rhiannon

Does anyone know if this also applies to a Kindle? I just ordered one that's supposed to "read like paper". Not sure if the brightness can be adjusted, which certainly helps a lot with the computer.

 

I have the Kindle Keyboard and it doesn't have any background illumination--you have to have exterior light to read it. That makes me think it probably isn't causing that kind of stimulation by light.

 

My biggest problem is I work late evenings in a very bright environment and have to use computers at work. I'm experimenting with amber glasses to block blue light, not sure they're helping much but we'll see.

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Altostrata

You would rock in these, Rhi!

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Jemima

I have the Kindle Keyboard and it doesn't have any background illumination--you have to have exterior light to read it. That makes me think it probably isn't causing that kind of stimulation by light.

That's a relief. I haven't been this excited about a new toy in years, and then I thought - uh, oh.

 

My biggest problem is I work late evenings in a very bright environment and have to use computers at work. I'm experimenting with amber glasses to block blue light, not sure they're helping much but we'll see.

 

I'm sorry your work environment is so uncomfortable. The only amber glasses I've tried were the drugstore kind with magnification and I quickly put those aside. I had my near vision corrected by cataract surgery (unlike most people who go for perfect distance vision) and the magnification made things blurry. Amber lenses do help me a lot with night driving. Headlights have blinded me for the past several decades, long before I started taking Lexapro, and I've got an old pair of amber clip-on lenses that diffuse the glare and make night driving bearable.

 

Thanks for the reassurance. Now I can look forward to getting my Kindle on Tuesday. I do hope the amber lenses help you.

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Jemima

You would rock in these, Rhi!

 

Oooooh. I like those. My clip-ons really do need to be replaced.

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areyouthere

You would rock in these, Rhi!

 

I just bought a pair of these from Amazon!! They are amazing. To read I wear half readers and these glasses fit over top without interfering. I've used them for the last 4 evenings as I use mu computer. All four nights I have gotten sleepy much faster and earlier and gotten off the computer to fall asleep.

 

So basically I think the bright comp. screen was stimulating. The glasses helped. It will take more trials to see over the long run if it works but for now I would say yes to getting these.

 

Will be great fishing next summer too!!!

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Hangingon

Do you find that using the computer or iPad causes or exacerbates the electrical sensations in the Brain?

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Farout

In the early days I couldn't cope with screens at all. It was mainly a visual thing but generally I just found them massively over-stimulating.

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Farout

PS. I found colouring and cross-stitch a really good way to keep my busy hands and head occupied instead.

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scallywag

I'm going to have to move to bulkier yarn and bigger needle projects for late night knitting; the socks will have to wait for daylight hours. Good thing I have one or two projects waiting.

 

A link I found helpful/interesting: From Craig Canapari MD, is head of the Yale Pediatric Sleep Center:

Going on a Light Diet: Avoid Insomnia by Managing your Screens

 

He's posted links to apps that dim and adjust the color of screens on PCs, Macs, Android & iOS.

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