Put down the tech before bed

It+is+common+for+students+to+keep+their+phones+with+them+at+night+time+and+use+them+at+all+hours%2C+especially+for+texting+with+friends.

Jami Daley

It is common for students to keep their phones with them at night time and use them at all hours, especially for texting with friends.

Jami Daley , Features Editor

How long before bed do you put down your electronic devices? Where do you put them when you are ready for bed?

Keeping your phone or tablet on your night stand may not seem like a big deal, but technology affects how you sleep in more ways than people realize. Texting, playing video games, surfing the web, and even using your phone as an alarm clock at night, all of these things are most likely keeping students from a good night’s sleep.

It gets worse: a recent article in the New York Daily News compared the glowing screens of modern tech devices to “digital heroin,” with effects almost as addictive as the drug. The article, written by Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, went on to say that:

We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic …

There’s no denying that technology is a huge part of the 21st century. Cell phones, tablets, computers and other electronic devices have become a major part of our daily lives, and it is often hard to put them down.

Many people in today’s society see the pros of technology, like staying connected with friends and family, entertainment, coordinating activities, research, etc. However, there undeniably are some cons to technology. Technology has been known to be a gateway to sexting, cyber bullying, identity theft, leading predators into their lives, and one many people don’t realize, sleeping problems.

The blue light released by screens on cell phones, tablets, computers and TVs suppresses the production on melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle and when its production is reduced it makes it harder to fall asleep. Both mental activity and light exposure stimulate wakefulness. The blue light mimics daylight and stimulates your brain and an overexposure to it can cause you to wake up feeling tired, anxious, and depressed.

In preparation for this article, some members of the BluePrint staff participated in an experiment testing the effects technology has on our own sleep by putting down their gadgets for one night.

“The first night I was on my phone and watching TV up until I fell asleep. I woke up really tired, angry, and completely unmotivated,” said staff writer Brianna Sisto. “But, the second night I put all my electronics down an hour before I went to sleep and I woke up feeling refreshed, in a good mood, and ready for the day.”

Electronics are unlike other activities before bed like reading because they are an interactive device. Interactive devices are those that require a fair amount of input from the user, where passive devices require little to no input from the user. Some examples of passive technology are listening to music, and watching a movie.  On the other hand, an example of interactive technology is playing a video game.

While video games may not be the typical hand-held entertainment, they still emit glowing light and can impact students negatively.

“Let’s just say that I never play video games when I’m tired, but I always play them to wake up in the morning,” said Austin Savino