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! 

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