Americans are a sleepy bunch and laptops, texting, video games and iPods could be to blame. The 2011 Sleep in America poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation finds 43% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights. And almost everyone surveyed, 95%, uses some type of electronics like a television, computer, video game or cell phone at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed.
According to James Wyatt, PhD, a sleep expert and director of the Sleep Disorders Service and Research Center at Rush, for people with insomnia, using electronic devices such as texting, computer games or surfing the web in the hour before bedtime can stimulate the brain and make it difficult to wind down and fall asleep.
For those without insomnia, the activities may not make it difficult to fall asleep, but they are encroaching on sleep time. People take their laptops to bed with the intention of just reading one or two e-mails, but instead get caught up and end up online instead of going to sleep.
“Using all of these technologies isn’t bad, but you need to know when to put them away in order to get a full eight hours of sleep,” said Wyatt. “Numerous studies have shown inadequate sleep is detrimental to nearly every organ system of the body.”
There are many little things you can do (and not do) to improve your sleep. Check out the full list of “do’s and don’ts” for better sleep.
Rush also offers an interactive online program to help you focus on the specific sleeping problems you may be experiencing. During the conversation, you’ll receive information about sleep disorders and suggestions on where you can go for assistance.