In today’s always-on digital society, sleep has become an elusive luxury. There are a number of reasons for this lack of rest but experts agree that using mobile devices right before bedtime is a significant contributor. Here, Jenny Craig executive Douglas Battista shares his insight on the link between Instagram & insomnia and Facebook & fatigue.
Q: How common is sleep deprivation?
Douglas Battista: Insomnia is a common complaint with more than three million cases diagnosed each year with an untold number of sufferers failing to seek treatment. It is estimated that insomnia results in more than $63 billion in lost productivity annually in the United States alone.
Q: How does using a mobile device affect a person’s sleep pattern?
Douglas Battista: The body naturally increases its production of melatonin in the hours before bedtime. As the sky darkens, this sleep-inducing hormone triggers drowsiness and ultimately REM sleep. Using a cell phone or tablet before bed extends exposure to certain types of light, which inhibits the release of melatonin. The result is an extended bedtime and a potentially more restless sleep.
Q: Does nighttime mobile device usage negatively affect workplace efficiency?
Douglas Battista: Many people believe that checking their email one last time before bed will speed up their morning. The opposite is true, however, as the brain begins to focus on work, further exacerbating our inability to fall asleep. We arrive at work fatigued and sluggish and are less productive than we would have been with a full night’s sleep.
Q: What are some alternatives to cell phone usage after dark?
Douglas Battista: An hour before bed, leave your phone in another room and pick up a good book. Reading will not only help you wind down, but will encourage a natural sleep cycle. You can also spend your phone time with your partner. If you must use your device before going to bed, enable the blue light filter if it has one. This blocks many of the brain-stimulating light waves.