Man Using His Smart Phone in the Dark. Photo: Thanasis Zovoilis (Getty)
How many times have you found yourself unable to sleep, only to grab your phone or tablet and browse the web for a few minutes? Those few minutes quickly turn into a few hours, which leaves you getting less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. If so, you’re not alone. This has become a pattern of the masses, according to new research, which says high-speed internet addiction is causing widespread sleep deprivation.
The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization released the study, in which they not only tracked how using high-speed internet before bed harms your sleep patterns, but also how it affects our moods and cognitive performance the following day. Needless to say, the results were not positive.
“Digital temptations may lead to a delay in bedtime, which ultimately decreases sleep duration for individuals who are not able to compensate for later bedtime by waking up later in the morning,” Francesco Billari, principal investigator of the study, said.
The study compared heavy internet use to that of children watching television or playing video games before bed, which has not only been previously linked to academic struggles, but also makes it difficult for the body to enter into a deep rest, resulting in sleep deprivation.
“Digital temptations may lead to a delay in bedtime, which ultimately decreases sleep duration for individuals who are not able to compensate for later bedtime by waking up later in the morning,” Billari said.
What about those with slower internet speeds, you ask? According to the study, they actually sleep better than those with high-speed internet, as those without lightning-fast connections sleep, on average, an additional 25 minutes more every night.
So the next time you’re struggling to sleep, you might want to put that digital device back in the drawer and start counting sheep. Your body will thank you for it.