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Technology & Sleep Science: Is Your Phone Keeping You Awake?

February 17, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodsidedental @ 1:43 pm

person on their phone while laying in bed

Most people have a nightly routine of scrolling through their social media before going to bed and checking out the latest news and what’s going on with their friends and family. Whether you use a phone, tablet, or computer to do this, you may be surprised to know that it can have an impact on your quality of rest. Without a proper night of sleep, you can feel fatigued, groggy, and unmotivated the next day. Read on to learn more about sleep science and three ways that nightly use of electronics, even for five minutes, can negatively impact your rest.

Limit Melatonin Production

Your body has an internal clock that operates on a 24-hour cycle and helps it function while it’s awake. It also determines when you should be awake or asleep. Blue light emitted by the screens on your electronic devices can be an external signal to your body that you shouldn’t be asleep. As it gets dark, your brain begins to produce melatonin, which is a vital hormone that helps alert your body to go to sleep. The blue light inhibits the production of sleep-inducing melatonin, and instead, signals you to stay up. Many studies have linked melatonin suppression to additional health problems, such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, and even depression.

Jumpstarting Your Brain

If you’re a work-a-holic, you may be tempted to answer a few emails before you turn off the lamp on your nightstand and go to sleep. However, keeping your brain engaged as you’re scrolling through the web and your emails can confuse your body, making it think that it needs to stay awake. It’s important to unwind at night and let your mind relax. Instead, try storing your technology away so you won’t be tempted to get it out and restart your brain just as you’re trying to wind down for the day.

Keeps You Awake

Even if you’re diligent about not using your cell phone before bed, having it sitting within reach while you’re trying to get some rest can be harmful. Some people experience anxiety related to their phone because they’re constantly waiting for an alert or chime to signal them to look at it. If you do keep your phone on ring while you’re resting, you can count on it buzzing or going off in the middle of the night to alert you to an email, text, or calendar reminder, and wake you up. Instead of taking that risk, be sure to store your electronics in a different room altogether.

If you follow these guidelines and still have difficult sleeping, it could be a sign that you have a common condition known as sleep apnea. In this case, be sure to schedule a consultation with a specialist as soon as possible. They can assess your symptoms and let you know how you can improve your nightly rest so you feel more energized the next morning.

About the Author

Dr. Derek Cornetta has always been passionate about helping his patients achieve optimal oral and overall health. For patients who have difficulty getting the quality of rest that they deserve, he offers sleep apnea treatment. He customizes each treatment plan to fit the unique needs of his individual patients, which allows him to achieve the best possible results. For questions or to schedule a consultation to learn more about sleep apnea, visit Woodside Dental Care’s website or call 508-644-5200.