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Sleep experts say electronics are the cause of “a nationwide epidemic” of insomniacs

Is your technology keeping you awake? Picture: Shutterstock Is your technology keeping you awake? Picture: Shutterstock

Friday, April 18, 2014
12:00 PM

Having trouble sleeping? Maybe having your phone or your tablet on your bedside table isn’t helping, because over-use of mobile devices is contributing to what is dubbed “a nationwide epidemic” of insomniacs by experts.

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Top five tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:

1) Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better.

2) Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible. Make sure your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old.

3) Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But not too close too bedtime or it may keep you awake!

4) Don’t over-indulge and cut down on stimulants. Too much food, caffeine or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep.

5) Try to relax before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga – all help to relax both the mind and body. If you have any worries, write them down to tackle the next day.

Insomnia is the persistent disorder where you have difficulty getting or staying asleep for an adequate amount of time.

And according to the Sleep Council, “our obsession with being connected” isn’t helping.

A spokesman said: “Too much exposure to blue light – generated by smartphones and tablets - can have an impact on your sleep cycle. “It disrupts your body’s circadian rhythms by suppressing the evening rise of melatonin which you need to feel sleepy, making it tough to nod off and stay asleep.”

It is reported that one in three of us makes phone calls and sends or receives texts or emails in bed, and a further one in five keep busy before bed by checking up on social networking sites, playing computer games or listening to music.

Carly North believes her sleep patten is being ruined by electronics and social media.Carly North believes her sleep patten is being ruined by electronics and social media.

Carly Marie North, of Douglas Road, Romford, who has now recently moved to Cyprus, said: “As much as I love my iPhone and the internet etc, I’m aware that they distract me far too much and I will frequently be up until the early hours because of it! I think it can be like an addiction to some. It’s quite scary really.” Katie Andrews, of South End Road, Hornchurch, believes her interest in the internet is ruining her sleep pattern.

She said: “I stay up later because I’m scanning the internet, looking through social media and generally browsing. I don’t think it’s healthy to do it but I can’t help myself.”

It is reported that almost six out of ten people in the UK have said they don’t get any more than seven hours asleep a night and around 80 per cent have admitted to using their smartphones, computers, or tablets two hours before going to bed.

The spokesman said: “Keep your bedroom free from distractions. It is not a dumping ground for the rest of the house but should be a space that is a haven for calm and relaxation.

Too much exposure to blue light can ruin your sleep cycle.Too much exposure to blue light can ruin your sleep cycle.

“Anything entertaining or work related such as TVs, computers and tablets, games consoles and mobile phones should be turned off or even better, banned from the room.

“Not only will they prevent you from falling asleep, but they may become disruptive at inopportune times and wake you back up.”

So the next time you’re tempted to check your phone when you’re laying in bed, just move it away out of arms reach and get yourself a good night’s sleep.

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