There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep to have you bouncing out of bed and ready for whatever the day throws at you. On the flip side, not getting enough quality sleep can leave you feeling — and behaving — like the proverbial bear with a sore head.
We spoke to CQU researcher and Sleep Health Foundation spokesperson Dr. Amy Reynolds to get the facts straight on how those “urgent” work emails or late-night LOLs could be costing you quality snooze time.
Screen time and sleep problems
While technology has made it easy to do almost anything we want at the touch of a screen, it can make it difficult to disconnect, even at bedtime. And research into the effects of device use on sleep continues to suggest that technology and sleep simply don’t make good bed buddies.
Dr Reynolds says, “One of the hormones that’s really important in helping us get off to sleep is a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin relies on light to tell the body the body whether it needs to be sleeping or awake, so if light levels are bright then it’s suppressing melatonin. The light stops those levels from rising and stops us from getting off to sleep.”
A three-year study by Griffith and Murdoch Universities looked at late-night mobile phone use, sleep, and mental health indicators in Australian teenagers1. That study found that late-night mobile phone use directly contributed to poor sleep habits, leading to longer term declines in overall wellbeing and mental health.
Studies into screen use in both adolescents and adults is consistently showing a negative link between phone use and sleep quality2, 3. One study specifically looked at social media use on mobile devices at bedtime — it recommends against getting your social fix from bed, warning that it’s more likely to cause insomnia, anxiety, and reduced sleep4.
Listen now: As a small business owner Neel struggles to balance work, sleep and his health. Our experts weigh in.