Losing Sleep over Technology

Teenagers have always lived in a world of cellphones and laptops. It might be causing damage to their attention spans and posture (see smartphone neck), but it could be wrecking their ability to get a good night’s sleep as well.

A new study published last week in the journal BMJ Open reviewed phone use by nearly 10,000 Norwegian teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19, with special attention paid to technology use in the hour before they went to bed. It will come as no surprise that the teenagers “spent a large amount of time during the day and at bedtime using electronic devices,” but the self-reported study indicated an “increased risk of short sleep duration, long sleep onset latency and increased sleep deficiency.”

The risk of getting less than five hours of sleep increased the more time was spent in front of a screen during the day and before going to sleep, as was the reduced opportunity to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

The researchers note that increased exposure to technology like smartphones and laptops, along with other devices, raises the “disturbing possibility that electromagnetic radiation may be one of the factors stopping us from getting a good night’s rest. The hunched-over posture that tends to come with screen usage can lead to headaches and muscular pain. And that’s not even counting all the ways the Internet jolts our tired brains,” Mashable says.

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  • The blue glasses mentioned in todays episode (for computer viewing, or for looking like an old lady/Bono) may be getting even more common, now that EnChroma has developed a pair of computer/indoor glasses (EnChroma Cx-65 glasses) to correct colour-blindness too, so those of us with colour-vision deficiencies may start wearing them more and more (especially people like me who are in a colour reliant industry like Graphic Design.)