Electronic devices and sleep

DID YOU KNOW? Screens, including those of your phones, emit “blue light” that reduces the amount of sleep you get and increases how often you wake in the night.

(Source: https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/evening-screen-time-can-sabotage-sleep)

One other reason teens are not getting as much sleep as they need is their phones and other digital devices. Screens emit blue light which interferes with the release of melatonin. Melatonin is the chemical your brain releases to tell you that you are tired. But it doesn’t get released when you are exposed to bright light and especially blue light. (That’s why when the sun comes up you start to wake up.) When you use your phone in bed, you are messing with your body’s melatonin release which makes it harder to go to sleep.

iPads, cell phones and computers also keep you up by distracting you. Many teens report climbing into bed at a reasonable hour and then staying up late because they become engaged with something on their phone: a game, a group chat, video surfing, you name it. Combine that with the blue light emission and you are setting your self up for a much later sleep time.

So, when you make your bedtime routine as described in the last sub-post make sure turning off your phone well before you climb into bed is part of that routine. Do NOT under any circumstances sleep with your phone under your pillow or in a place where incoming texts or emails will disturb your sleep. Texting and phone use late at night is becoming an increasingly large contributor to sleep deprivation in teens. The amount of work you have for school and sports already puts you at risk for sleep deprivation.  Don’t add to it voluntarily by keeping your phone on at night.

If you are having some issues getting a good night’s sleep after trying some of the ideas in these sub-posts, definitely talk to your parents and consider seek ing professional help. A good night’s sleep is critical to your overall health.  Don’t under-estimate just how important it is.

DID YOU KNOW? Have you ever been told you did something in the middle of the night that you can’t remember? Like you got up to go to the bathroom, ran into your little brother in the hallway and told him to go back to bed. Then when he mentions it to you in the morning, you have no idea what he is talking about?  Ever have a phone conversation in the middle of the night that you don’t remember? This is due to something called sleep-related retrograde amnesia. In theory, as you start sleeping, the pathways from short-term to long term memory shut down (no need to remember things when you are asleep!). As a result, many of the things you do/watch/say when you wake up for a short time at night or during the time just before you fall asleep (anywhere from one to fifteen minutes prior) do not make it into long term memory. That’s often why, if you read before you go to bed (a habit you no longer do, right?), you can’t really remember where you stopped. Another reason to stop reading in bed! It’s not really productive!

Post Question:

Have you ever had sleep related retrograde amnesia? If so, share what happened.

Answer the post question here

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