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How Excessive Screen Time Affects Your Sleep

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excessive screen time

By now, you probably already know that experts recommend seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Do you know how important this truly is, though? In 2015, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society published a joint statement, based on comprehensive research, saying “sleeping less than seven hours per night on a regular basis” is associated with such adverse health outcomes as weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression, impaired immune function, increased pain, a greater likelihood of accidents and even an increased risk of death. That’s extremely serious!

Your Sleep and Your Health

Sleep is not a luxury to go without in order to fit in one more episode of your favorite show or answer a few more emails! On the contrary, sleep is absolutely vital to good health. This is true for adults, teens, and even children. For adolescents, sleep plays a critical role in staying healthy, growing adequately, feeling happy, maintaining good grades, being social, and doing well in sports. 

The effects of sleep deprivation on students can be harrowing. There is quite a bit of research showing a link between behavior and attention problems in children to poor sleep. Because being sleep deprived affects their ability to learn, the consequences of sleep deprivation last a lifetime. The memory problems associated with sleep deprivation means they don’t learn the same information as other kids their age. Inadequate sleep contributes to attention problems, bullying and aggressive behavior, hyperactivity, mood swings, and anxiety.

However important sleep is, it sometimes doesn’t come easily for people of all ages. For those who struggle, it’s important to look at electronic use.

A Healthy Amount of Screen Time

An increased amount of screen time throughout the day has been linked to Insomnia and symptoms of Depression. That doesn’t even include the negative results of getting too little sleep because you’re choosing screen time instead. This screen time includes social messaging, surfing the internet, watching TV, and playing video games. In addition, using the internet for schoolwork still counts as screen time even though it isn’t “fun.” 

Recommendations for an acceptable amount of screen time, according to The Mayo Clinic, include: no screen time whatsoever for children under 2, one hour a day for children 2 to 12, and two hours a day for teens and adults. You may look at this and say “What??? I’m on my work computer for eight hours!” You’re right. These are important guidelines but may not always be practical, especially when screen time is needed for work or school. If you need to have more than the recommended amount, learning all you can about blue light is key to staying as healthy as possible. 

The Effects of Blue light

Electronic devices emit an artificial blue light that can suppress the release of the body’s natural sleep-inducing hormone, Melatonin. This can interfere with the body’s natural internal clock that signals when it’s time to sleep and wake up. The more time a person spends in front of an electronic device, especially in the evening and into the night, the greater the negative effects on sleep. This includes problems falling asleep as well as difficulty staying asleep. As a result, an individual will sleep fewer overall hours. Because of this, it is best to turn off all screens about two hours before bed to give your body time to “reset.”

Create a Sleep-Positive Bedroom Environment

Limiting overall daily screen time can help improve sleep issues and restricting use right before bed is most important to help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. You may want to consider setting an alarm to go off two hours before your usual bedtime and shutting off all electronics at that time.

Creating a sleep-positive bedroom environment goes beyond just turning off the television, though. What is the number one thing you need in your bedroom in order to get a great night of sleep? A high-quality mattress, of course! Visit your nearest City Mattress location and spend time trying out different mattresses in order to decide which option you find the most comfortable. Some people may prefer a softer mattress, while others like firmer options. We have top-of-the-line luxury mattresses made from natural cotton and Shetland wool, organic mattress options, mattresses made for those who get warm when they sleep, mattresses that are ideal for those who sleep on their stomach, and many more. Don’t forget to add the adjustable bed base! You’ll also want to stock the bed with comfortable pillows, add the right lighting, and maybe even paint your walls a soothing color. 

The long term effects of not sleeping well are not something to take lightly. Adults and teens need at least seven hours of sleep, and younger kids need more like 10 or 14 hours. Getting less than this on a regular basis will eventually lead to health consequences that affect a person’s entire life. If you or a loved one isn’t sleeping well, it’s time to limit screen time- especially at night. If that doesn’t do the trick, it may be time to consider revamping your bedroom with a new bed, upgraded mattress, soothing accessories, or better lighting. 

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