As humans, we all have various things that make us different. That includes physical appearance, skills, cognitive abilities, personalities, languages, dialects, and interests.
Thousands of details cumulatively set each of us apart from everyone else. Even in the case of identical twins, no two people on the face of the planet are the same.
But despite all the intricacies and facets, there’s something we all crave in order to be happy, healthy, and successful: sleep. It’s vital for us to understand the connection between sleep and technology today because, for better or worse, it has an impact on all of us.
Keeping Us Awake
For the average person, technology clearly has an adverse impact on our ability to fall asleep at night. A great deal of that has to do with the way in which screens suppress melatonin.
“The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm,” the National Sleep Foundation explains. “Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.”
Most Americans acknowledge using their phone, laptop, or TV within an hour of bedtime. Many even fall asleep with the TV on in the background.
The only way to combat the negative influence of blue light is to allow yourself at least 30 minutes of screen-free time prior to hitting the hay. For the best results, make your bedroom a technology-free zone.
Helping Us Fall Asleep
The relationship between technology and sleep isn’t entirely negative. In fact, for every disadvantage, there appears to be a positive. A brief visit to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will tell you as much.
“Sleep technology is one of the biggest trends at CES, and this is evident in the number and diversity of the products on show,” Sleep Junkies explains. “Industry forecasters predict that the global sleep aids market, which, as well as sleep tech includes solutions for insomnia, will be an $80 billion dollar industry by 2020.”
Some of the top innovations in the sleep aids market include adjustable mattresses, app-controlled mattress cooling systems, smart breathing aides, noise canceling earplugs, and brainwave entertainment systems (for relaxation).
Promoting Understanding of Sleep Habits
Another positive relationship between sleep and high tech is the way the latter helps us understand our sleep habits. Whether through personal sleep fitness trackers or complex studies conducted in special labs, researchers are developing a deeper understanding of our rest habits — an understanding that should help society in years to come.
Take Fitbit devices as an example. Amerisleep frequently conducts studies using data from these devices and analyzes the information to understand better how people sleep.
This study on sharing a bed and restlessness is a good example. It found that a person’s average sleep time varies depending on the company he or she keeps. People who sleep alone average 6 hours and 24 minutes; those who rest with a partner average 6 hours and 31 minutes; and those who share a bed with a pet get 6 hours and 27 minutes.
Other Amerisleep studies have looked at sleep quality and work habits, sleep and disease correlation, sleep quality and pre-bedtime routines, and even sleep patterns in different cities and states. The more we understand about the subject of sleep, the better we’ll be able to optimize our resting schedules for maximum impact.
Catch More Zs
Technology can interfere with our sleep patterns, improve our ability to drop off, and help us understand the relationship between rest and other aspects of our lives. We can’t make a blanket statement about whether technology has a net positive or negative impact on sleep, but we can see there are various correlations.