Technology has come to play an increasingly important part in people’s lives and it is difficult for many people to imagine not having access to a computer or cell phone. People are choosing to spend hours playing computer games or watching television, which means they have less time to do other important things in their life, including sleep. It seems that many people would prefer to be online than in bed and discover that when they finally do try to go to sleep they are unable to.
Sleep is extremely important for a healthy mind and a healthy body. Individuals who do not get enough sleep can find that their sleep deprivation leads to decreased performance and alertness, memory and cognitive impairment, poor quality of life, and a greater risk of occupational and automobile injury. To be able to get to sleep in the first place, it helps if there are no distractions and individuals are relaxed.
Unfortunately, many people choose to watch television or check their emails before gong to bed and such exposure to artificial light can increase alertness and suppress the release of melatonin, which is a hormone that promotes sleep. Thus, individuals may be fully awake when they should be resting. When it is difficult to sleep, to pass the time people may well turn on their computer or watch television, which is hardly likely to help the situation.
Even when individuals manage to fall asleep, it is difficult to escape the grip that technology has over them. Many people go to sleep in a room where there is easy access to a television, computer and cell phone. Instead of their bedroom being a place designed primarily for sleep, it becomes an entertainment zone. Even when they do manage to get to sleep, the chances are they have left their phone on and if they get a message, their sleep will be disrupted.
Sleeping habits have definitely changed as a result of people’s over-dependence on technology. Many people acknowledge that they feel tired all the time and could do with a few more hours sleep, yet fail to recognise what they need to do to ensure they get a better night’s rest. Technology has become so commonplace in people’s lives that many fail to appreciate that while technology has many positive applications, it also has some drawbacks.
Young people are particularly susceptible to lack of sleep since they are the most frequent users of technology and without any boundaries they may just go online instead of trying to sleep, knowing they can turn to caffeine to help keep them awake. In the long run, though, if people – whether young or old – are to remain happy and healthy, they are going to have to learn to prioritise sleep over technology.