Dependence on televisions, cellphones and laptops may be costing Americans dearly — in lack of sleep.
The national penchant for watching television every evening before going to sleep, playing video games late into the night or checking emails and text messages before turning off the lights could be interfering with the nation’s sleep habits.
"Unfortunately, cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep at night leaving millions of Americans functioning poorly the next day," Russell Rosenberg, the vice chairman of the Washington DC-based National Sleep Foundation (NSF), said in a statement.
Nearly 95 percent of people questioned in an NSF study said they used some type of electronics in the hour before going to bed, and about two-thirds admitted they do not get enough sleep during the week.
Charles Czeisler, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said exposure to artificial light before going to bed can increase alertness and suppress the release of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone.
"Technology has invaded the bedroom," Czeisler explained in an interview. "Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported they routinely get less sleep than they need."
Baby boomers, or people aged 46-64 years old, were the biggest offenders of watching television every night before going to sleep, while more than a third of 13-18 year-olds and 28 percent of young adults 19-29 year olds played video games before bedtime.
Sixty one percent also said they used their computer or laptop at least a few nights each week.
And a propensity to stay in touch means that even people who have managed to fall asleep, are being woken up by cellphones, texts and emails during the night.
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