7 mins

30 March 2022

The Role of Technology in Helping and Hurting Your Sleep

We’ve all heard claims of how technology has interfered with our ability to sleep well. Many say that the light from the screens hurt our ability to sleep quickly and deeply, while others say that the distraction that technology frequently creates hurts sleep quality.

While some of these claims are true, simply saying that tech is bad for sleep is false! After all, technology encompasses so many different devices than the typical laptop or phone. Other technologies out there exist that are created to facilitate better sleep!

One of these technologies is the sleep tracker, usually built into things like a fitness watch or anything of the light. This article will talk about how technology can help you sleep better and get into how it can hurt it.  

This way, you can be more educated about how technology can help and hurt sleep, helping you make the right decisions that will help you enjoy a good night’s rest! But first, let us talk about why we all have different sleeping schedules: 

It is crucial to understand that how much a person needs to sleep is dependent on the individual. This also applies to what time the person’s body is actually ready to sleep and what time the body generally wakes up. For instance, some people find it easier to sleep by 10 p.m., while others may see better results when they sleep at midnight. This is quite obvious when comparing teens against older adults. Teens tend to sleep a lot later but sleep for many hours. 

Meanwhile, adults sleep much earlier but sleep for far fewer hours. While some of it may be caused by technology, it isn’t all technology’s fault. There is something at play here: chronobiology. 

The topic can be a little complicated, but to put it simply, chronobiology is much like clocks in our body that sync up with the day and night cycle of the earth. You can see this work in plants, where many flowers open when the sun is up and close up when it is down. 

Now, when it comes to sleeping, chronobiology can kick in in weird ways. For instance, you understand that you’ve been sleeping late and need to sleep early since it is good advice. However, you attempt to do so, but you lay for hours awake until you reach your average sleeping time, at which your body feels tired and falls asleep. Of course, this type of reaction doesn’t apply to everyone, but it does to many. 

With that in mind, does that mean that you should continue using technology before you go to sleep? Not necessarily. 

One of the most obvious ways that technology can hurt one’s sleep schedule is something we call “blue light.” 

Blue light is something that many devices emit from the screen, and it is the same light that the sun produces. When our eyes receive blue light, our bodies think that it has to be awake. After all, the blue light means the sun is up, or so it feels. 

In a way, we can trick our bodies to think that it is still daytime, causing our bodies not to fall asleep. It is funny to think that we are afraid to expose ourselves to light during the day but overexpose ourselves to light at night. This kind of habit can trick our bodies into thinking that day is night and night is the day.  

To counter this problem, many solutions can be adapted, such as using glasses with blue light filters, monitors that have reduced blue light modes, and more. However, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid blue light altogether. You still need to be exposed to blue light, which should ideally be from the sun. 

When you spend enough time outdoors under the sun, it can help you sleep better at night! Exposure to the sun can help your body stay awake throughout the day so that when night finally falls, it is fully ready to rest and recuperate. 

Now, you may think that technology is all evil when it comes to sleep. However, this isn’t the case. 

One fantastic way that technologies like smartwatches can help improve sleep is their ability to track your sleep. It can help track how many hours and minutes you have spent in the bed and how time is spent asleep.  

Although the numbers produced by such devices will never be 100% accurate, it can give one a rough idea of just how good their sleep is. These tools also generally come with applications to display data concisely, which then empowers the user to improve their sleep. For example, you may typically find yourself sleeping from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., seven hours of sleep total. However, after one night, the application tells you that you slept an hour less.  

What do you do? You may reschedule your day in such a way that you can either sleep an hour earlier or implement some strategy to make up for a lost sleeping time!  Keep in mind that we aren’t solely talking about the wearables we wear and the apps we use when we say technology. We also refer to the technologies of many experts to help patients understand their sleeping activities. If you have a serious problem sleeping, you can always reach out to sleep experts about the issue.  

With the help of technology, they can help identify any underlying issues that may be interfering with your sleep. This allows them to develop practical solutions to help you sleep better at night, thanks to the pieces of equipment specially created to analyse a person’s sleep. 

In other words, the proper use of technology can help improve one’s sleep. Technologies built solely to enhance sleeping quality exist, and by using those technologies, you can rest easier and deeper at night! 

So, what is the role of technology in sleep? That depends on how you use them. If you find yourself spending many night hours in front of a screen, you’re effectively hurting your ability to sleep by tricking your body into thinking that it has to stay awake.  

On the other hand, if you use technology to track your sleep and even create an atmosphere that facilitates sleep, you’re giving your body the chance to rest and enjoy a good night’s rest! In other words, technology will affect the way you use them.  

As such, if you know that your use of tech is hurting your ability to enjoy restful evenings, it is time for a change. If you want to take your sleep to a whole new level, then consider investing in sleep-improving technologies that will get you the rest needed to wake up to a refreshing day! 

Did you enjoy this article?

If you enjoyed it, don't keep it to yourself, share it with your friends!

Related stories

8 Science-Backed Tips for Better Sleep

It’s well-established that getting quality sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise. But despite its importance, over the past few decades, people’s sleep quality and quantity have declined with a troubling percentage of 33% among adults not getting enough proper sleep. Many are seeking the best tips for better sleep because poor sleep has immediate negative psychical and mental impacts on health

Insomnia: What You Need to Know

Everyone knows that sleep is an essential part of everyday life. When the day ends, the natural course of action is to wind down and finally go to bed. However, given the hectic schedules that most people have, it’s often difficult to go to sleep quickly or fall asleep at all. In the worst-case scenario, people get two hours’ worth of shut-eye and start the day feeling lousy and haggard.  The awful feeling that comes with the lack of sleep is because the body needs seven to eight hours worth of rest to repair itself and support various functions, such as its immunity or muscle repair. While some have no problem falling asleep as soon as they go to bed, others have a hard time learning how to get to sleep quickly due to insomnia. Here’s what you need to know about it: 

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep plays an essential role in keeping our body and mind healthy and recharged. Without enough hours of sleep, you’ll start feeling the symptoms and effects of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is a condition caused by inadequate quantity and quality of sleep. This condition is common among teens and adults. According to the National Health Service (NHS), teenagers (ages 13-18) need at least eight to 10 hours of sleep. Meanwhile, adults (ages 19-60 years) need six to nine hours of sleep per night. But various studies have revealed that around 33% of teens and 63% of adults in the UK are not getting enough sleep, which could lead to many health problems if not treated or resolved right. It’s important for people to realise how important sleep is for their physical and mental health. Treating sleep deprivation early on can help you live a healthier life and become more productive in the day. 

Sleep Meditation: Secret to Better Sleep

Have you ever experienced trouble in falling asleep?  You close your eyes but your mind keeps spinning so you cannot fall asleep? Well, sometimes our minds just won’t stop bothering us – and that’s where meditation can help. To fall asleep, our body and mind need to calm down and relax. Sounds simple, right? However, many people find this utterly difficult to do. Meditation, as a relaxation technique, may help you to quiet your body and mind while enhancing inner peace and balance. This is especially useful when you start focusing on worrisome thoughts at night in bed a time when you are not as easily distracted by other things as during the day.

Most popular

8 Science-Backed Tips for Better Sleep

It’s well-established that getting quality sleep is essential to our physical and mental health. Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise. But despite its importance, over the past few decades, people’s sleep quality and quantity have declined with a troubling percentage of 33% among adults not getting enough proper sleep. Many are seeking the best tips for better sleep because poor sleep has immediate negative psychical and mental impacts on health

How to ensure your baby is safe as they sleep

By now you know that babies have a crazy tendency of sleeping in various bizarre positions. Some might even seem funny, but it’s always better to ensure they sleep in positions where they are not just comfortablr, but also safe. Since babies spend 70% of their time asleep, let’s look at simple precautions one can take as a parent to ensure safe sleep for your baby. Here at Sleep Science, we recommend the following safe sleep guidelines to reduce, for instance, the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Product Review: White Noise Machines

Have you ever experienced trying to sleep with a lot of background noise, only to find out you are unable to? We are sure you’ve tried options like putting on earplugs or stuffing your head under the pillow, which probably did not work as good as you had hoped. Thankfully, white noise machines have recently been made available to help troubled sleepers ignore disruptive background noise so they can sleep peacefully. Sleep Science wants to help everyone get the best night’s sleep. That’s why we have reviewed and tested some popular white noise machines to help you drown out the noise that keeps interrupting your sleep. But first, let’s get you informed on what these machines can do.

Product Review: Philips Smart Lightbulb

It is now well-known: light is one of the essential elements in our sleep-wake cycle. Indeed, the type of light present in the environment is connected to producing different kinds of chemical compounds. To understand this, we can take a look at the diurnal variation of light. While there is more bluish light, we are more inclined to produce excitatory hormones (first and foremost cortisol). On the other hand, during the late afternoon, when the light is reddish - hormones are linked to more relaxing effects (i.e., melatonin). Notably, the production of hormones affects our sleep-wake cycle and interacts with our mood, emotions, and feelings. In other words, the type of light surrounding us, and therefore the type and quantity of hormones produced, influence our mental life. The reasons listed above make it clear why many sleep experts recommend meticulous care in setting home lightings, particularly in the bedroom.