Power Down to Avoid Being Run Down
Apparently my family is not alone. Ninety-five percent of Americans utilize electronics such as a television, computer, video game or cell phone at least a few nights a week before going to bed. As a result, we feel groggy at school or work. It is often difficult waking up in the morning and staying alert. We crave naps in the middle of the afternoon.
Why? According to a study conducted by Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, "Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour making it more difficult to fall asleep," he further states, "this study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep. Invasion of such alerting technologies in the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need."
Nearly two-thirds of baby boomers and at least half of the younger generations watch television every night or almost every night within the hour before going to sleep. Computer or laptop use is also common. Roughly six in ten (61 percent) say they use their laptops or computers at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed. Cell phone use, specifically texting and talking on the phone, is also common, especially among younger generations. Nearly half of them say they send, read or receive text messages every night or almost every night in the hour before bed compared to 5 percent of baby boomers.