Sleep and electronic devices: why and consequences

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Louise Hay

Sleep and electronic devices: why and consequences

Falling asleep watching a show or listening to a podcast can be tempting, especially if we want to relax. Let's talk about this increasingly popular habit and how to alleviate its negative effects.

Last update: February 13, 2022

Environmental conditions have a great influence on the quality of sleep. Silence, darkness, a correct temperature, all these parameters guarantee that we can fall asleep and enjoy a deep and prolonged rest. However, many people cannot separate sleep and electronic devices. Why does this paradoxical situation arise?

You probably know someone who usually falls asleep watching TV or video, or listening to the radio or podcast on the Internet. Maybe you do it yourself.

Far from being a mere whim or a mania, sleeping with background sound has become a real necessity for many. There are those who cannot fall asleep without this solid company. But how is it possible that an element that disturbs sleep is essential for us every night?

Sleep and electronic devices

For years, many parents have not allowed or satisfied their children's desire for a television in the bedroom. And this is because they knew or sensed the negative effects of overexposure to light when falling asleep.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the technology is gaining ground in our lives and more and more people are making room for it in their nightly schedule.

From this seemingly harmless decision, habit and even addiction to screens before bed can arise.

It has become a habit

Many have got into the habit of falling asleep with their television, tablet or cell phone turned on. We humans are creatures of habit and we tend to repeat the same behavioral patterns every day, especially if they bring us immediate benefit.

Thus, many have moved to bed what they were doing elsewhere in the house: watching a movie or series before going to sleep.

They help camouflage other noises

One of the obvious advantages is that they help us disguise ambient noises: traffic, jobs, nature sounds or snoring partner seem muffled between conversations coming from the television or smartphone.

Especially those who live in crowded places and have night schedules may have difficulty falling asleep due to the numerous sleep interruptions.

Sleep and electronic devices that fill the silence

Other people use the sounds of electronic devices to fill the silence that reigns in the bedroom before sleeping. Really many people find this lack of sound disturbing.

They may feel fear or loneliness, and the virtual companionship offered by technology can help them relieve these unpleasant sensations.

Disconnect the mind

One of the reasons that most clearly identifies those who choose to sleep by watching or listening to a program via an electronic device. There technology offers a mental distraction which prevents unwanted thoughts, worries and memories from arising.

One of the main causes of insomnia is brooding: the tendency to think too much about what worries us. So, while we listen to the dialogues of our favorite show, we keep the curious mind at bay.

Sleep and electronic devices: what are the consequences?

Some studies indicate that certain sounds, such as white noise, can promote sleep (especially in children). However, the sounds we usually hear in the evening do not have these properties, as they are irregular and can scare us.

Therefore they provoke a fragmented and superficial sleep that prevents physical and mental recovery. As a result, we can suffer from fatigue, stress, daytime sleepiness, poor performance, and mood swings.

In light of this data, it is best to keep technology away from the bedroom if we want to enjoy a good night's sleep. If we are unable to do this, some measures must be taken to mitigate the negative effects of this habit.

For example, set a timer to turn off the TV or smartphone at a certain time (so that they do not disturb sleep throughout the night). It is also important to choose content that is calm, that does not contain shocks and that deals with positive themes (remember that dreams can be influenced by what we hear).

Sleep is critical to mental and physical health and well-being. So let's make sure it is adequate in terms of quantity and quality.

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