a person using a laptop in the dark

Using electronics before bed can disrupt sleep patterns.

Using computers before bed or taking one last look at your smart phone before falling asleep might seem like a good idea, but according to a recent survey, these habits are likely preventing adults, particularly young adults, from getting a healthful amount of sleep. The results indicate that the vast majority of adults use electronics before bed and that many adults are not getting enough sleep.

The survey took the form of a YouGov poll commissioned by Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire. The poll asked 2,149 adults about their smart phone use, surveying whether the respondents used a computer, tablet, or smartphone in the two hours before bed. The survey also asked whether the respondents agreed with the statement “I would describe my dreams as pleasant.”

More than three-quarters (78%) of adults reported using electronic devices before bed as did 91% of young adults aged 18-24. Only one in ten respondents reported having pleasant dreams. The findings also indicate that there was a 20% increase of people not getting enough sleep compared to last year’s National Sleep Foundation poll.

“The blue light from these devices suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so it’s important to avoid them before bed time,” explained Professor Wiseman.

Adults should sleep at least seven to eight hours per night, according to experts. Regularly sleeping less than seven hours is associated with health risks including weight gain and heart attacks. Teens need even more sleep—around nine hours per night. To ensure more restful sleep, people should disconnect from their devices approximately an hour before bedtime.

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