In reality, there are only a few things in life humans need despite the long list of wants we may actually have on our own. The need for food, water, shelter, and human companionship may be one of the first few ones that pop on our mind first because they are basically non-negotiable essentials in our lives. Then, there are those desires we have that are merely just whims and fancies we don’t necessarily need but something we may want so badly. And then there is sleep – the one thing that keeps us going despite the ups and downs of life.
Sleep isn’t just something we need in order to recharge our tired bodies but is a restorative process that does a lot of things that we are not always aware of. At the end of the day, your body will be screaming for sleep no matter how strong and healthy you are. It is as natural as breathing. Yet today, many people are willingly giving up their sleep just for a few more hours, minutes or seconds with their smart gadgets. Bedtime is pushed even further so that modern people can stay connected to their online friends and updated on their virtual reality. But many of us fail to realize that we unconsciously neglect our health in the guise of having a good time.
The National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) latest Sleep Health Index (SHI) finds significant associations between technology use in bed and sleep health.Forty-eight percent of American adults reported using a device like a computer, tablet, or smartphone in bed before trying to go to sleep. These people averaged 2 points lower on the overall SHI (75 vs 77, on a 1 to 100 scale) and 5 points lower on the sleep quality subindex (65 vs 70) than those who refrained from technology use in bed.
More alarming is the 21% of American adults (representing 52 million people) who reported awakening from sleep and using an electronic device before trying to go back to sleep at least once in the past 7 days. These individuals averaged 10 points lower for overall sleep health and 13 points lower on the sleep quality subindex than others (68 vs 78, and 57 vs 70, respectively).
Unlike in previous decades when smart technology was basically more of a dream than the reality that it is now, people slept early because they have nothing better to do once night time falls. They don’t have gadgets that can keep them entertained all night long and no Internet to make them forget the distinction between day and night. People back then certainly got their recommended 8 hours of snooze daily without any problem at all. But that can’t be said today. You won’t even be able to recognize that it is night if not for the total darkness that envelopes the land.
So what is causing the increase in sleeplessness than previous generations? Technology. In an article posted by WebMD, come to find out, the growing use of technology is making for busier people. When our body is ready to sleep, our brain’s electrical activity slows down and the neurons become less active. But as we are continually engaged with electronic devices, our brains never have a chance to “rev down.”
Even that subtle glow from our electronics can cause us to suffer a delay in melatonin, which is a sleep inducing hormone.
People Don’t Realize How Important Sleep Is
Most people don’t know that the amount of sleep we get plays a direct role in the overall state of our mental health and cognitive abilities. Sleep is not something to be taken lightly – it is not a mere luxury.
We often think we can make up for lost sleep but no, it isn’t possible. Sleep isn’t a luxury you can afford to not have or miss out on. It’s basically the fuel that keeps us going every single day. Food and water alone are not enough to sustain us. Over time, our bodies will give in to the exhaustion and demand for rest. Sleep serves that purpose. By temporarily saying goodbye to your woes in life, your body gets to recharge and rejuvenate while you are in dreamland. There are no ifs and buts.
Technology takes that away from us. We get so engrossed with whatever is on our smart gadgets that we easily lose track of time. Unless your sleeplessness is caused by a medical condition, don’t underestimate the benefits of sleep for your health. We should be responsible enough to care for our bodies and not compromise our health just because we want to have a good time. By setting a schedule and seeing it through, it will be easier for you to resist those tech temptations surrounding you and set your priorities in life straight.