How Does Tech Affect Your Sleep?

By Meg Barraca

As we live in a world where technology and social media are prominent, it is only reasonable that technology has been integrated into our daily lives. Its many functions make it so convenient and easily available- whether that be doing research for a major project, communicating with long distance friends, or sharing photos on social media. However, this makes it difficult to put away our devices when we don’t need them- especially at bedtime. As refreshingly accessible as technology is, it is easy to overlook its detrimental effects- especially on a student’s sleeping schedule.

Studies show that a teenager needs an average of nine hours of sleep, yet teenagers only get around seven to seven and a half hours of sleep. A clear reason for this is the use of technology before bedtime. The blue light transmitted from device screens restrains the production of melatonin, a hormone which controls your sleep cycle. Repeated use of technology before bed can delay the body clock for 1.5 hours, which makes one feel more alert and awake in the evening and groggier in the morning. Additionally, a 2011 study from the US National Sleep Foundation shows that those who use technology before bed have less satisfying sleep than those who don’t. This consequently has a negative impact in daily activities, causing sleepiness, fatigue, and decreased concentration in class and extracurricular activities.

As much as getting a good night’s rest is desired, us high school students often need to stay up to complete projects and homework due the next day. Even though we cannot stop the continuous flow of schoolwork, there are several strategies that can be done for us to be more rested by the next day. It is recommended to refrain from looking at screens at least an hour before bed. This can be replaced with a variety of other activities like reading a book, meditation, or paper assignments such as math problems or reading over notes. Doing relaxing activities right before bed leads to a deeper and more refreshing sleep. Additionally, an app called f.lux, which is downloadable on both laptop and mobile devices, adjusts the color temperature of your screen, giving it a more orange glow. By doing so, the production of melatonin is not restricted, making it easier to fall asleep after using technology.

Though it may be difficult to balance schoolwork, social life, and sleep at the same time, hopefully these alternatives can help you catch a more restful night, regardless of the lack of sleep. Although schoolwork may be daunting at times, don’t forget that your personal health and wellbeing is more important than grades on powerschool!