We all remember the days when the average number of televisions per household rarely surpassed one. Now we can get our favorite television shows and feature films with the swipe of your thumb on your smartphone. It’s so easy to fall asleep browsing Netflix and Facebook, but experts warn against making it a habit. A plethora of health problems can arise from incorporating mobile devices into your sleep routine. Depression and weight gain are just the beginning of your problems.
It’s so easy to fall asleep browsing Netflix and Facebook, but experts warn against making it a habit. A plethora of health problems can arise from incorporating mobile devices into your sleep routine. Depression and weight gain are just the beginning of your problems.
A study was conducted on 850 Flemish adults who were placed in a sleep situation and told to use their phones and tablets to perform a wide range of activities with the lights out. Results ranged from insomnia to fatigue, not to mention the damage done to your eyes when the light from the LED screen is blasting its way into your retina.
Dr. Dan Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and he has been studying the effects of using your smartphone while laying in bed and getting ready to sleep.
“People are exposing their eyes to a stream of photons from these objects that basically tells your brain, ‘stay awake,’” Siegel says. “That light beam tells your brain ‘don’t secrete melatonin yet, it’s not time for sleep.'”
Melatonin is a natural hormone in the pineal gland located at the center of your brain. During the day, your pineal gland remains dormant and waits for your body to stop being active so it can activate itself and release melatonin into your bloodstream. The process causes you to become drowsy and begin to crave sleep. It remains active in your blood until you wake up the next morning.
When this process is interrupted, it creates a feeling similar to jet lag, which can lead to insomnia and depression. The more sleep people miss, the more toxins are unable to be killed by the glial cells in the brain. These toxins surprisingly also cause us to gain a significant amount of weight.
In addition to the feeling of jet lag and depression, insulin levels are also associated with no sleep. When there is an imbalance in insulin levels, the body’s metabolism gets thrown out of whack. The constant need to check the likes on a Facebook page are causing the body to get fatter.
The first step to avoiding such a serious problem is to turn your phone’s volume all the way down and set it on the other side of the room. Or better yet, charge it before you go to bed and completely power it down so your pleasant slumber isn’t interrupted by constant notifications. In addition, find an activity to do before you go to bed that doesn’t require you flooding your eyes with LED light. Work on a 1,000 piece puzzle, read a good book or have a conversation with a loved one… in person. Your brain and your body will certainly thank you, and your Facebook notifications will be there tomorrow.