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Is Technology Accounting for Sleeplessness?

August 8, 2017

7:15 am

Sleeplessness. A new study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that more than one-third of American adults are sleep deprived.

In the first ever conducted study, they indicate there is an increased development of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and mental distress in those who sleep less than the recommended seven hours a day.

Wayne Giles, M.D., director of the CDC’s Division of Population Health, said, “As a nation, we are not getting enough sleep.” He continues, “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night, rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.”

Finding a purpose in life can help you sleep better

So what is causing the increase in sleeplessness than previous generations? Technology. In an article posted by WebMD, come to find out, the growing use of technology is making for busier people. When our body is ready to sleep, our brain’s electrical activity slows down and the neurons become less active. But as we are continually engaged with electronic devices, our brains never have a chance to “rev down.”

Mark Rosekind, PhD and former director of the Fatigue Countermeasures Program at the NASA Ames Research Center said, “One of the most simple but important reasons technology affects our sleep is cognitive stimulation.”

Even that subtle glow from our electronics can cause us to suffer a delay in melatonin, which is a sleep inducing hormone.

People Don’t Realize How Important Sleep Is

Most people don’t know that the amount of sleep we get plays a direct role in the overall state of our mental health and cognitive abilities. Sleep is not something to be taken lightly – it is not a mere luxury.

Barry Krakow, MD, medical director of Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences, Ltd, and author of Sound Sleep, Sound Mind: 7 Keys to Sleeping Through the Night, said, “You’re putting energy in the bank when you go to sleep. On a cellular level, the body is literally repairing and restoring itself. Without it, you can’t do what you want physically or mentally.”

Keeping a good sleep pattern is difficult in this day and age. Furthermore, getting those lost hours of sleep can be pretty difficult if not downright impossible. If you are missing one to three hours a sleep a week for a month, that is a lot of hours of sleep lost – and you can never make up for what your body has lost due to that lack of sleep.

Even if you haven’t gotten enough rest the night before, it is well suggested to find time to grab a power nap.

The Mattress You Use Could Effect You Sleep

Believe it or not, the type of mattress you sleep on can seriously affect your rest. In an article written by webmd.com, experiencing a good night’s sleep versus a bad one is all in the mattress.

Michael Decker, PhD, RN, associate professor at Georgia State University and spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said, “A mattress can impact a person’s sleep. When you lie on any part of your body for an extended period of time, the weight of it reduces the flow of blood through those blood vessels, which deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients.”

In addition, it’s been recommended by experts to change out your pillow every 18 months for health reasons.

The Effects on Your Health Due to Sleeplessness

It Slows Your Thinking

Lower alertness and concentration stem from the lack of sleep, says scientist who measured sleepiness in people. People who are suffering from sleepiness tend to lose focus, become easily confused and have trouble processing more complex thought processes.

It Impairs Your Memory

Did you know that as you are sleeping the nerve connections that help make our memories are strengthened?

Avelino Verceles, MD, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the school’s sleep medicine fellowship says, “Sleep embeds the things that we have learned and experienced over the course of the day into our short-term memory.”

Researchers say that there may be a direct correlation between the consolidation of new information into memories based on the different phases of sleep we go through. If those phases are hampered or disrupted, then these processes are cut short.

Harder to Retain Information

The lack of sleep inhibits your ability to learn in two specific ways: you will have trouble focusing, which means you will have more trouble understanding a subject and have trouble focusing, of course, your memory will decrease as a result.

Slower Reaction Time Is a Big Danger 

According to an article in Forbes, 5,000 people died in 2015 due to automobile crashes stemming from sleeplessness, costing society as a whole around $109 billion. This has prompted the United States government to broaden their definition of what they consider an impaired driver. This means “Drowsy Drivers” could fall under the same category as those under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Read more about living a healthy entrepreneur lifestyle at TechCo

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Chris is father, husband and all-round computer geek who had privilege to watch technology rising from its bare beginnings and powering life as we know it today. Worked as software architect and developer for some of the biggest brands. Human rights activist and digital freedoms advocate. Also, the green tea connoisseur.

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