Is Too Much Screen Time Interfering With Your Sleep?

Good sleep is vital to good health. Good, deep sleep allows our bodies to regulate all of the many hormones that create the balance and rhythm in our systems that produce life! We literally cannot live without sleep and unfortunately most of us know from experience that when we miss enough sleep or our sleep is disrupted, the life we have doesn’t feel much like living! If your sleep is less restful than you need could it be that the culprit is too much screen time?

If you are reading this article, chances are you are reading it on a screen of some type. Technology is wonderful and brings to us all helpful information, connection to others, ways of working, and entertainment at our fingertips, anytime, anywhere. This is great, right? Well within limits.

Like most good things in life, technology and the screens we see it on are good for us in limited doses, but when we overdo on screen time some very negative things happen inside our brains and bodies. Because technology has become such an integral part of our entire day many people are experiencing those negatives to one degree or another. Here is a look at how too much screen time can affect your sleep.

In addition, the physical act of responding to an email, text, or video increases the tension in your body which results in stress. Your body then produces the stress hormone cortisol released by the adrenal gland aversive to sleep.

Furthermore, the brain naturally creates the hormone, melatonin,that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Too much light from video screens at bedtime affect the melatonin production giving the body the impression you aren’t ready for sleep. In addition, the screen emits light that suggests to the brain that it is still daytime which contributes to insomnia and sleep deprivation. Holding a device such as a smartphone close to one’s face increases this effect giving the brain the wrong signal as if it’s not time to go to sleep. – Huffington Post 

More Effects Of Too Much Screen Time

Here are several other ways that too much screen time can impact your health. Think you don’t get that much screen time? Start keeping track and you may be surprised!

Adults

A 2014 Nielsen report found that adults log a total of 11 hours of screen time a day. Here are some of the ways this might be affecting our health:

Vision

Staring into a screen for extended periods of time can cause “computer vision syndrome.”You’re probably familiar with the symptoms: strained, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Poor posture can also cause neck and shoulder pain.

Sleep

Studies link heavy computer and mobile phone use to more sleep disturbances. University of Gothenburg psychologist Sara Thomée, one study’s lead researcher, says the blue light from digital devices suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, keeping us from having restful sleep.

Addiction and reward seeking

Dopamine, the “feel-good hormone,” is part of the brain’s pleasure and reward circuits. Playing video games turns on similar brain regions as those linked to cravings for drugs and gambling,  Ditto for social media — every time we see a new post or get a reaction to ours, it’s like a hit of brain candy.

Weight

Even two hours of TV a day can increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease in adults. (Computer use doesn’t seem to have as strong a link.) There are probably several factors to blame, including less active time, less sleep, and seeing more ads for unhealthy foods.

Overall health

Most of the time we’re on our screens, we’re sitting down. Sitting for hours at a time boosts the risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. One study found that spending more than four hours a day in front of a computer or TV more than doubles your likelihood of dying or being hospitalized for heart disease — and exercise won’t reduce the risk. – Rally Health

How many hours a day do you spend looking at a screen?