5 Ways Technology Is Ruining Your Sleep

By:    Published: January 29, 2012

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It's very common to come across a friend's blog or post on some social media platform and hear him or her ranting about another bout of insomnia on yet another sleepless night. The problem is, most people who are whining about a lack of sleep aren't dealing with insomnia; real insomnia, anyhow. If only they would turn off their laptops and smartphones, and unplug themselves for just a few seconds to relax in their beds, they'd soon be swept off to dreamland. Here is a list of five things that have ruined sleep for many people:

1. Recorded Television

In olden times, you would have to set up your TV and VCR to record your favorite shows and movies. This was a major hassle. From fiddling with the ridiculously confusing timer on the VCR, to purchasing and storing all those VHS tapes, it just wasn't worth the effort to record an episode, let alone an entire season, of a primetime TV show.

However, as TV recording becomes easier and more convenient, there also grows a lack of time to actually watch everything you want to see. People are able to have entire marathons of sitting in front of the TV to catch up on four seasons worth of reality shows. But how are they supposed to watch all their recordings, without cutting into a little bit of sleeping time? At one point, there was nothing worth watching after late-night TV. With the video recording options that have become available, a person can spend an entire night watching TV until the sun comes up. Plus, the "sleep" button, which was once a common sleeping aid, is starting to become less frequently used as people become more engaged with programming they can watch anytime they want to.

2. Your Phone is No Longer Just a Communication Device

Even when cellphones first arrived, there wasn't much people could do with them aside from talk. However, with advancements in technology, cellphones have more and more functions than ever before. Many people are starting to use their cellphones as an alarm clock, which is where the problem lies. At such a close proximity to your bed, people are easily tempted to reach out for their cellphone if they are having trouble sleeping. With all the games and applications readily available, it's no wonder why people are unable to fully relax in bed. What was once a talking device is now a portable super-computer that keeps people overly stimulated when they should be trying to relax and fall asleep.

3. Laptops

People who use desktops as their home computing device are less likely to have issues with sleep than a person who is using a laptop. After all, it would be fairly difficult to browse the internet in bed with a giant computer tower and monitor lying on top of you. But with a laptop, people can just plop their computer on their lap and surf the internet all night. In an article by CNN, it is suggested that the artificial light produced from electronic devices, like laptop monitors, can affect a person's internal sleep clock. If you are having trouble sleeping at a decent hour, try putting the laptop away well before your bedtime. This might help keep your from staying up at odd hours, blogging about a sleepless night that you're entirely responsible for, not some medical condition that you probably aren't very familiar with aside from what you've seen in a popular movie about a guy who can't fall asleep, and is a part of an underground club of guys who fight other guys in a dirty basement under a bar.

4. Video Games

Video games are no longer considered sophisticated toys for children. They now fill the living rooms and bedrooms of people of various age groups. As video games become more and more popular each day, there is a growing concern over how much time they are sucking out of a person's sleep. People with video games in their bedroom are more likely to stay up late and play, depriving themselves of much needed rest. Even worse, a video game addiction can lead to even more sleep deprivation and can land a person with a real sleeping disorder.

5. Reading Tablets

Reading before bedtime is a common technique used by people to help induce sleep. It is quite relaxing, and as long as the material is not overly engaging, most people will be lulled to sleep in a matter of a chapter or two in their book. Unfortunately, the paperback and hardbound editions of yore are becoming less common. As technology advances, digital media in the form of downloaded novels and anthologies are becoming readily available. People are enjoying the convenience of carrying around entire libraries in a handheld device that can even fit in a person's pocket. The problem with these reading tablets is similar to that of a computer monitor, the glow from the screen can keep a person up at night.

As technology progresses, people must find new ways to adapt to a paradigm shift in sleeping habits. Eight hours for a full-night's rest is slowly transforming into six hours. The more people are plugged in and caught up in the web of technology, the less they feel compelled to allow their brain to rest and relax for just 30 minutes, void of any type of stimulation so that they can ease themselves to sleep. Perhaps someone needs to invent a device that will allow people to skip sleep entirely. Then there won't be anything standing in the way of more time spent watching TV, playing video games or blogging all night.

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