Feeling tired? You’re not alone. According to two new studies, the economy and our wired lifestyles are getting in our way of a quality "40 winks."
More than half (60 percent) of us experience some sort of sleep problem every night and are searching for a way to cope, while two-thirds of us say the sleep we are getting is not restful. That’s a lot of yawning during the workday.
The 2011 Sleep in America® poll released March 7, 2011 by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) examined Americans’ sleep habits and found we are pervasive users of communications technology in the hour before bed.
Almost everyone surveyed (95 percent) reported using some type of electronic device—television, computer, video game or cell phone— at least a few nights a week before bed. The survey showed generational differences in the devices used.
Two-thirds of baby boomers (46-64-year-olds) and generation Z'ers (13-18-year-olds) said they watch television every night or almost every night within the hour before going to sleep, while about half of generation X'ers (30-45-year-olds) and generation Y'ers (19-29-year-olds) report getting drowsy watching TV.
Computer or laptop use is also common. Six in 10 (61 percent) say they use their laptops or computers at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed. More than half of generation Z'ers (55 percent) and slightly less generation Y'ers (47 percent) say they surf the Internet every night before bed.
"Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour—making it more difficult to fall asleep,” said Charles Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital.
This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep. Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need, he said.