Technology Use Before Sleep is Widespread, Unhealthy

March 7, 2011

Study Finds 95% of Americans use electronics within the hour before bed.

Trenton, NJ – National Sleep Awareness Week, which is observed March 7-13, is a time for everyone to recognize the importance of proper sleep and to take a look at their sleeping habits.

Using active technology before bedtime is a bad habit many people have according to a new poll released by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Almost everyone surveyed (95%) in the NSF poll uses some form of electronics at least a few nights a week within the hour before bedtime.

The survey looked at four different age groups – baby boomers (46-64 year olds), generation X (30-45 year olds), generation Y (19-29 year olds), and generation Z (13-18 year olds) and the different types of technology they are using before sleep.

About two-thirds of baby boomers and generation X and half of generation Y and Z watch television every night before going to bed. Computer and laptop use is similar in usage across all age ranges.

“The results of the poll point out that it is more important than ever for people to make sleep a priority, as it affects health and daytime functioning,” said Dr. Debra DeLuca, who is board certified in sleep medicine, neurology and clinical neurophysiology and co-medical director of the Capital Health Center for Sleep Medicine. “Sleep is not expendable, and Americans should focus on keeping a regular schedule and allowing enough hours for sleep.”

NSF’s Sleep in America poll suggests that interactive technologies like video games and texting are more disruptive to sleep than television and music which do not require concentration or interaction. Generation Z and generation Y are about twice as likely as generation X and baby boomers to be involved with interactive activities.

The poll also found that almost half of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get good sleep on weeknights.

“Selecting a bedtime ritual, such as a warm bath, listening to calm music or reading a book, can help your body get used to winding down before its time to sleep,” said Dr. Marcella Frank, who is board certified in sleep medicine, internal medicine and pulmonary medicine and co-medical director of the Capital Health Center for Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Frank and Dr. DeLuca both suggest setting and sticking to a sleep schedule and suggest the following tips:

  • Use your bedroom only for sleep. It may help to remove work materials, computers and televisions from your bedroom.
  • Create an environment that is conducive to sleep which is quiet, dark and cool with a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Reduce or eliminate your intake of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol near bedtime.
  • If you can't sleep, go to another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
  • Exercise regularly, but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime.

During National Sleep Awareness Week, the Capital Health Center for Sleep Medicine is hosting a free open house on Wednesday, March 9 from 3 to 7 p.m. Tour their state-of-the-art facility, meet their specialty-trained staff, and learn how to resolve your family’s sleep disorders. Light refreshments will be available, and there will be a drawing for a restaurant gift certificate valued at $50. For more information, please call Sharon Puglisi, sleep center coordinator, at 609-584-5150.

About Capital Health Center for Sleep Medicine

Available in two locations in Hamilton and Trenton, Capital Health’s Center for Sleep Medicine has been accredited for over 20 years by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and is the largest fully accredited center in Mercer and Bucks counties. While many centers offer only nighttime testing primarily for sleep apnea, Capital Health is fully staffed during the day and night to provide testing and treatment for the entire range of sleep disorders in adults and children.

Click here to learn more about the Capital Health Center for Sleep Medicine or to take an online sleep apnea assessment. Call 609-584-5150 to make an appointment.

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