Cutting down on screen time helps solve sleep problems

Image: freepick

If you are in the habit of going to bed with your smart phone and keeping yourself glued to the screen until sleep takes over, you are likely not to get up early and refreshed, the next morning. Studies have suggested that blue light emitting from electronic devices can adversely affect sleep time as well as quality. For, too much exposure to blue light impacts the brain’s clock adversely affecting the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Hence, the feeling of fatigue, lack of concentration, and bad mood many of us experience during the day following a bad night sleep.

According to a new study, the findings of which were presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Endocrinology (ECE 2019) in Lyon, France, more than four hours of screen time can delay the onset of sleep as well as wake up time by 30 minutes. And reducing the screen time can help reverse the sleep problems.

The study involved a randomised controlled trial on a small group of smart phone users. Researchers examined the sleep patterns in participants vis-à-vis two measures – blocking blue light with glasses and abstinence from using screens during evening.

After a week it was found that both the measures resulted in early onset of sleep as well as wake up times by 20 minutes. There was also reduction in sleep loss in participants.

“Here we show very simply that these sleep complaints can be easily reversed by minimising evening screen use or exposure to blue light. Based on our data, it is likely that adolescent sleep complaints and delayed sleep onset are at least partly mediated by blue light from screens,” says study co-author Dirk Jan Stenvers from Amsterdam UMC hospital in the Netherlands.

The lack of sleep is also linked to serious health issues, including obesity, diabetes and heart ailments.

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