Tex­ting be­fore bed cre­ates bad sleep

Townsville Bulletin - - Life: Health -

NEARLY two-thirds of Amer­i­cans say they’re not get­ting enough sleep and late-night com­puter use, tex­ting and video games are a sig­nif­i­cant part of the prob­lem, ac­cord­ing to a na­tional sur­vey just re­leased.

Vir­tu­ally all of those sur­veyed in the Sleep in Amer­ica poll re­ported ‘‘ very ac­tive’’ use of tech­nol­ogy at least a few nights a week within an hour of bed.

‘‘ It is clear that we have a lot more to learn about the ap­pro­pri­ate use and de­sign of this tech­nol­ogy to com­ple­ment good sleep habits,’’ said David Cloud, CEO of the Na­tional Sleep Foun­da­tion, which con­ducted the sur­vey.

More than half of kids aged 13 to 18 text an hour be­fore bed most nights and this group re­ports be­ing the sleepiest of all, the sur­vey found.

On av­er­age they re­port seven hours and 26 min­utes of sleep a night on week­nights, nearly two hours shy of the nine hours and 15 min­utes rec­om­mended by sleep ex­perts.

It’s a fa­mil­iar story for Dr Tracy Car­bone, a sleep ex­pert at T h e V a l l e y H o s p i t a l i n Ridge­wood, New Jer­sey, who treats a grow­ing num­ber of adol es­cents f or sleep dis­or­ders which are af­fect­ing school per­for­mance, driv­ing abil­ity and moods and men­tal health.

‘‘ We’re see­ing more and more of this,’’ said Car­bone, di­rec­tor of The Cen­ter for Pe­di­atric Sleep Dis­or­ders and Ap­nea.

Not only is tex­ting and web

BAD HABIT: late-night tex­ters have sleep prob­lems surf­ing stim­u­lat­ing, but the ar­ti­fi­cial light from screens and mo­bile phones sup­presses the r e l e a s e o f t h e h o r m o n e mela­tonin, which in­duces sleep, Car­bone said.

It be­comes a vi­cious cy­cle as the body’s nat­u­ral sleep cy­cle shifts to later and later, which in turn leads peo­ple to use their com­puter or surf the in­ter­net when they can’t sleep, she said.

While most par­ents and teens are aware of the dan­gers of drunken driv­ing, very few are talk­ing about the risks of driv­ing while sleep-de­prived, which can limit re­sponse time and in­crease the risk of ac­ci­dents, she said.

Jonathan Paul, a New Jer­sey teen, is among the per­pet­u­ally ex­hausted.

The 17-year-old said he texts his girl­friend ev­ery night un­til he falls asleep around 2am, then wakes f i ve hours l at er f or school.

He fell down some stairs last week be­cause he was so drowsy, he said, re­veal­ing scrapes on his arm from the mishap. Fo­cus­ing at school is a prob­lem, es­pe­cially early in the day, he said.

‘‘ The first cou­ple of pe­ri­ods of the day, I try to func­tion as much as pos­si­ble,’’ he said. But trad­ing in the mo­bile phone for a few more winks? ‘‘ No way, I need my phone,’’ he said.

Dr Su­san Za­far­lotfi, clin­i­cal di­rec­tor at the In­sti­tute for S l e e p - W a k e D i s o r d e r s a t Hack­en­sack Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter, is also treat­ing more pa­tients for sleep dis­or­ders fu­elled by late-night tech­nol­ogy.

W h e t h e r i t ’ s t e e n s o n Face­book, ex­ec­u­tives pre­par­ing for pre­sen­ta­tions or stressed par­ents pay­ing bills and ar­rang­ing sched­ules af­ter hours, the ef­fect is the same, she said.

‘‘ You are re­vers­ing the clock,’’ she said.

While peo­ple in all age groups re­port tech­nol­ogy use prior to sleep, the poll found – not sur­pris­ingly – that dif­fer­ent age groups use dif­fer­ent types of tech­nol­ogy.

About t wo-t hi r d s o f b a b y boomers, those aged 46 to 64, watch tele­vi­sion ev­ery night or al­most ev­ery night within an hour of go­ing to bed.

Yet only five per cent of boomers re­port tex­ting be­fore bed com­pared to 42 per cent of peo­ple aged 30 to 35.

Miriam Mo­rales, a 42-year-old Clifton, New Jer­sey, woman, said she typ­i­cally gets in bed around 9 pm and watches two hours of tele­vi­sion be­fore fall­ing asleep.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.