Sleep…and Your Phone

Sleep; one of the foundations of health, and, yet, one that is often undervalued and the importance is ignored. Many people are so diligent with their diet and strict in their exercise regime, but for whatever reason let sleep fall by the wayside. I, for one, have had sleep issues most of my life, and have gotten used to regularly only sleeping 4-5 hours a night. Not good.  A full night of sleep is defined as 7-9 hours, but it is reported that 35% of Americans get less than 7 hours per night and 63% are not meeting weekly sleep needs. So why is lack of sleep so bad for us? Lack of sleep not only causes us to be tired, it also leads to:

  • Increased cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • Increased stress and irritability
  • Increased weight gain…due to increased stress and cortisol release
  • Increased diabetes risk factors (Type II)
  • Learning and memory problems
  • Increased number of work and automobile accidents
  • Increased rates of cancer (breast, prostate) from decreased melatonin (increased exposure to blue light)
  • Overall increased mortality rate (DEATH)

Much of this lack of sleep is due to environmental change. Our caveman brain, and circadian rhythms (cycles of rest and sleep) is attuned to waking with the sun and ending the day at sunset…or at least playing with rocks back in the cave. One major environmental change is the advent of the amazing little devices we all have in on our person at all times; in fact, up to 95% of people have reported using a device a few nights a week within an hour of bed. While a great source of information, entertainment, and smut is at our fingertips, behind the ethereal blue glow of the screens lays a sneaky impediment to our sleep…BLUE LIGHT.  While blue light is beneficial during the day, increasing alertness and mood, increased exposure leads to:

  • Decreased melatonin levels
    • Linked to
      • Increase cancer, CVD, diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome rates
      • Decreased sleep
      • Decreased REM sleep (deep, dreaming sleep)
      • Decrease immune function
    • Decreased QUALITY and QUANTITY of sleep
    • Disrupts natural Circadian Rhythms

Luckily, the solutions are easy,

  • Turn off ALL DEVICES 1-2 hours before bed
  • Turn off all lamps
  • Light candles
    • A major possible benefit of doing the 3 steps above…MORE SEX…just saying
  • “F.lux” a program that can be downloaded on any device that changes the hue of the screen based on time of day
  • Blue Blockers: yes, those funny looking glasses your grandma used to wear. They allow only red-spectrum light in, increasing melatonin production and restfulness
    • Editor’s Note: I would never be caught dead in those so I don’t blame you if you’re scoffing at the idea.

While it may often be overlooked, sleep is just as important as any other aspect of health and wellness. With so many other factors affecting sleep, wouldn’t be prudent to eliminate factors that we can? Give it a shot, unplug a few hours before bed and see how your sleep patterns change. Can’t hurt to try, and like I said….maybe more sex J.

For more information on this or any other health related topic, and online consulting DM me or email me at: jwichols13@gmail.com Thank you.




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