Recently, we found some studies related to electronic devices and changes in sleep. According to these studies, both factors are closely related. In short, it has been established that electronic devices have the potential to disrupt normal sleep patterns and, as a result, alter their quality.
This issue is worrying to say the least. Think about it. The number of people who overuse their phones, computers and other electronic devices on a daily basis continues to increase.
The number of people who can only sleep with their phone on their bedside table or who take their laptop to bed to continue working is also increasing.
There is some evidence that all of these behaviors can cause problems in a person’s life. There is undoubtedly a link between electronic devices and changes in sleep. The University of California ‘s National Sleep Foundation has concluded that these types of devices lead to shorter and poorer quality sleep.
Artificial light and circadian rhythm
A circadian rhythm is the process that occurs in living things in less than 24 hours. These rhythms always follow the same order, and not only that, they also follow each other in phases. Among many other aspects, these rhythms regulate sleep cycles. They are equivalent to what is commonly known as a biological clock.
The journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society published a study at the University of Connecticut. This study concluded that artificial light has the potential to alter circadian rhythms. In particular, it can affect the sleep cycle.
This research has shown a direct relationship between electronic devices and changes in sleep. First, these devices work with artificial light. Second, sleep is very conditioned by circadian rhythms. They actually make the organism more active when there is light and more passive when it is dark.
There are specialized cells in the retina that help control circadian cycles. When the screens of electronic devices are turned on, there is a shape change. The day functions are thus activated at a time when they must be deactivated in order to have a good rest.
Electronic devices and changes in sleep
At the University of California, they came to similar conclusions to those we indicated in the previous section. They went even further. For example, they pointed out that blue-light screens on computers and phones reduce melatonin production.
This hormone affects the quality of sleep. When its levels are low, it makes it more difficult to fall asleep and shortens the duration of sleep.
In addition, we have a bad habit of keeping our smartphone or computer next to us, even when we go to bed. This prevents the reduction of neural activity. So these devices keep you alert, which is the opposite of what you’re looking for before going to bed, which is relaxation.
Worst of all, while you’re sleeping, your phone may still ring. Those who use their phone constantly wake up immediately to see who is calling. And even if the phone doesn’t ring, there’s a subjective tension because of the possibility that it might ring. This has a major impact on the quality of sleep.
Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst David Dorenbaum argues that electronic devices and changes in sleep form a binomial that can lead to different results.
He notes that the intensive use of these devices makes it more difficult for individuals to remember their dreams. In other words, there would be an analogy between the world we see through screens and our actual dreams.
A study conducted on 1,000 students aged 13 to 16 from Australia found that these devices were associated with lower sleep quality, which would subsequently have adverse effects on mental health. As a result, the youth who participated in this sample showed greater signs of depression.
Electronic devices per se are not necessarily the problem. The real problem lies in its misuse. When we properly control their use, they make life easier for us in many different ways. However, when you abuse them, they make people vulnerable and very dependent on their availability.