Internet Causes Sleep Deprivation, and Not Just in Teens, Study Shows
By Anna Hunt
It has never been more challenging to disconnect from technology than it is today. In most homes, laptops, TVs and smartphones easily distract us, often sucking us into media time-warps. Research now shows that broadband Internet access is creating an environment that results in sleep deprivation.
Study Shows Internet’s Responsible for Sleep Deprivation
Researchers at Bocconi University and University of Pittsburgh published a study that found temptations created by broadband Internet is a noteworthy cause of sleep deprivation. They linked data on broadband Internet rollout in Germany to surveys of individuals who reported sleep duration. They published the study in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
One of the main finding of this study showed that Internet access reduces both sleep duration and sleep satisfaction. This trend most significantly affects individuals who are rushed during the mornings because of work or family responsibilities.
Francesco Billari, a Full Professor of Demography at Bocconi University, Milan, and the Principal Investigator of the project DisCont, stated:
Individuals with DSL access tend to sleep 25 minutes less than their counterparts without DSL Internet. They are significantly less likely to sleep between 7 and 9 hours, the amount recommended by the scientific community, and are less likely to be satisfied with their sleep.
Access to Media & Social Networks Are a Culprit
Another trend is the effect that entertainment media over the Internet has on sleep patterns. Endless movies on Netflix and the addictive world of social media cause many people to go to bed much later than they would without these distractions.
As a result, many individuals are less likely to go to bed at a reasonable time. Yet, some of these people still need to get up early to get to work or get their children to school. Thus, they do not get a chance to catch up on their sleep during early morning hours.
Finally, the study discovered that different age groups are willing to deprive themselves of sleep for different reasons. Teens and young adults (ages 13-30) typically lose sleep due to time spent playing video games or watching TV. On the other hand, in older adults (ages 31-59) there’s an association between insufficient sleep and computer and smartphone usage.
Why Your Brain Needs Sleep
Lack of sleep can have quite a serious effect on your health. Firstly, the body uses sleep time to rebuild and heal tissues. As well, the brain gets what one might call a “makeover” every time you sleep. Specifically, support cells in the brain clear away residue left over from the day when you are asleep.
Research has shown that these support cells go into overdrive when you’re not getting sufficient sleep. As as result, they clear away more than unneeded residue. Thus, they actually harm the brain.
Problem Extend Beyond Temptations of Media
Another very significant problem associated with broadband Internet access is the increased proliferation of pollution from electromagnetic fields (EMFs). The affect that electromagnetic pollution can have on your sleep quality is so significant that Canadian citizens have filed a class action lawsuit against EMF producers.
Sayer Ji of Green Med Info writes:
…literature reveals that neuroimaging and electroencephalography studies demonstrate enhanced cortical excitability with EMF exposure, particularly in the front-temporal regions, which is paradoxically correlated with faster reaction times, but may also interfere with sleep.
One of the best ways to reduce the effect that EMF pollution has on your health is to use EMF protection devices from AiresTech or another supplier. These device simply connect to your electronics or sit around the home. Another way to limit EMF exposure during sleep hours is to move EMF emitting devices at least 3 feet away from your bed. As well, you should always turn off your WiFi modem during the night and set all devices to airplane mode.
Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Waking Times or its staff.