Sleeping Needs

Why Using Smartphones at Bedtime Disrupts Your Sleep

 

In today’s fascinating world of technological advances, we are now more networked and connected than ever before. Ironically, many of us have chosen to engage with our handheld devices instead of other people. Read more to discover how these high-tech devices affect us not only socially, but physically as well.

A Slippery Slope

It all starts when you wake up in the middle of the night. You grab your smartphone off the nightstand to check the time, and then you see a notification. Before you know it, you’re sucked into the ensnaring realm of social media. Sleep, you say? Forget about it.

Sure, you can switch your phone to silent mode. However, the pull to surf the Internet and check your e-mails is hardly one you can resist. Sleep experts say that this isn’t a healthy practice. You might as well get up and gulp down an overwhelming dose of caffeine before heading back to your bed.

The Tech “Hangover”

A study, published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, proves that using smartphones late at night can interfere with sleep, leaving people more depleted in the morning and less engaged during the day. This is interesting, because according to recent statistics, 58 percent of American adults own a smartphone, and 44 percent of them sleep with these devices by their bed.

Researchers also discovered by use of a mathematical model that reverse causality is not at play in these situations. Simply put, having less engagement at work leads to more smartphone use at night. However, daily work engagement does not predict smartphone use during night, and being engaged in work daily is not linked to subsequent smartphone use for work during the night.

According to assistant professor of management at Michigan State University, Russell Johnson, smartphones are nearly perfectly designed to disrupt sound sleep because they keep users mentally active late into the night, making it hard for them to detach from work so they can wind down and fall asleep.

An Old-fashioned Alternative

The draw of a smartphone, given today’s technological world, is highly understandable. Owning a smartphone makes life incredibly convenient in more ways than one. The alarm clock, especially, is a free feature. A Facebook-sponsored study by IDC Research conducted in the year 2013 shows that 44 percent of the people who own smartphones use them as alarm clocks. For people 18 to 24 years of age, that figure rose up to 54 percent. Device makers are currently helping the trend along, hoping the numbers rise. And, a majority of new alarm clocks manufactured today are designed to be connected to smartphones.

Little good comes out of keeping smartphones on your bedside. Doing so may only contribute to insomnia and eventually lead to poor work performance in the morning. Using a traditional alarm clock is a better alternative. It may not have any apps or access to Wi-Fi, but it does the job well of waking you up in the morning, and not in the middle of the night.

About the author

Beth Ellis