We now spend more time on our devices than we do sleeping. According to an August 2015 Ofcom survey, we engage in media or communication activities such as texting or gaming, for 8 hours and 41 minutes daily, and sleep for 8 hours and 21 minutes.
Technology keeps us up for two reasons. First, we are stimulated by the content. Second, the LED screen emits blue light, which prevents the brain from producing the sleep hormone melatonin. The blue light is in a bandwidth one sees in everyday sunlight, explains health education expert Dr Aric Sigman. “The blue light from your phone or tablet informs your pineal gland that it’s morning and it should shut down production of melatonin.”
In the journal Preventive Medicine (2016) researchers found a strong association between social media use and sleep disturbance, and warned of a link between sleep deprivation and depression. Sleep deprivation has also been associated with obesity and poor academic performance.