Video game use before bedtime increases emotional and mental arousal. This acts as a dose of caffeine, making it difficult to fall asleep. Those who played video games for 150 minutes or more at night experienced a delay in falling asleep of 39 minutes. They also lost an average of 27 minutes in total sleep during the night.4
Nighttime cell phone use has been linked to poorer sleep quality and less sleep in adults, teens, and children. Seventy-one percent of Americans who own smartphones sleep with them at night, either by placing their phone on a nightstand or in their bed.2 The blue light released by smartphones simulates daylight, hindering the brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall and stay asleep.
On the Rise
American adults spend over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, reading, or generally interacting with media.1 This has emerged as a result of an increase in internet accessible devices, namely smartphones, televisions, and video game consoles. The growing use of new software and devices has made it much easier to stay connected than ever before.
Long term sleep deprivation puts your mental and physical health at risk. Here’s a rundown of some of its effects: - High blood pressure - Sleeping less than 5 hours increases your risk for high blood pressure. - Weight gain - The chemicals that signal to your brain that you are full are off balance, which may result in overeating. - Risk for diabetes - A lack of sleep affects the body’s release of insulin. Sleep deprived people have higher blood sugar levels and an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. - Weakened immunity - Too little sleep weakens your immune system, making you more likely to get sick. - Mood changes - Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in anxiety or depression and create mood swings.
It’s time to rethink putting on that extra episode. Watching television before bedtime is correlated with poor sleep quality and quantity. Children ages 4-11 who watched television at night were found to have an increase in anxiety and overall sleep disturbance, resulting in shorter sleep duration.3
Many adults and children are suffering from a lack of sleep due to a rise in digital media consumption. Studies show that use of technology at bedtime is associated with a reduction in sleep quantity and quality, along with an increase in body mass index. Physicians should consult with their patients to discuss whether or not excessive exposure to this behavior is affecting their health.
- Time flies: US adults now spend nearly half a day interacting with media. Nielsen. July 31, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.
- Trends in consumer mobility report. Bank of America. 2015. Accessed November 20, 2018.
- BaHammam A, Saeed AB, Al-Faris E, Shaikh S. Sleep duration and its correlates in a sample of Saudi elementary school children. Singapore Med J. 2006;47(10):875-881.
- Video games and sleepless nights. Flinders University. October 18, 2012. Accessed November 20, 2018.