Electronic gadgets can have negative effects on sleep

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Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 4:31 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. - If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your high-tech gadgets may be to blame. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 90% of Americans regularly use a computer, or an electronic device of some kind in the hour before bed.

But the real lights that are a problem are the ones that come off of television sets, and to some extent, cell phones.

Light emitted from your electronic devices may be robbing you of a good night’s sleep. Dr. Matthew Edlund, author of The Power of Rest, says excessive light ruins sleep. And the many high-tech gadgets that never sleep may be the cause of your restless nights. “I have a clock that has a digital dial, there are lights on my TV, and other equipment. Sometimes during the night my computer will flash; that will wake me up."

Susan Defresco says she can’t remember the last time she had a good night’s sleep. “It’s been quite a long time; years, probably.”

She says she's very, very tired. “I stay asleep for a few hours, I'll wake up, go back to sleep for a little bit, wake up again."

She says the TV helps her fall asleep; but that, along with her other gadgets, may be stealing her ZZZ's. “All the lights off your television set, and they never go off. Then you've got the lights from your clocks, then you've got the lights from your tablets, or whatever else you happen to have. Then there are the infra-red lights.”

Lack of sleep contributes to a long list of health problems, including irritability, infections, and colds.

"More heart attacks, more strokes, more depression," says Dr. Edlund.

He says the solution to a good night’s rest may be in the flick of a switch. “Turn off the electronics at least a half hour before you go to bed."

Other suggestions include waking up to some kind of alarm, and going to bed and getting up at the same time every day so your biological clocks can get synchronized.

Dr. Edlund says set up a ritual, brush your teeth, turn off your lights, turn off your electronics, and get onto bed.

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