Experts often recommend against using electronic devices before sleeping, and now, a new study also indicates that prolonged use of electronic devices at bedtime may be harmful. Published in the Journal of Sleep Research, the study analysed 58 adults who kept a diary that recorded information related to time spent with media before bed, location of use, and multitasking.

The study examined the subjects’ time spent on electronic devices through electroencephalography tests that detect electrical activity of the brain using small metal discs attached to the scalp which captured parameters such as bedtime, total sleep time, and sleep quality.

The research asserted that sleep quality was unaffected by media use before bed if kept short without multitasking.

“If you are going to use media, like watching TV or listening to music, before bed, keep it a short, focused session and you are unlikely to experience any negative outcomes in your sleep that night,” lead author Morgan Ellithorpe, PhD, of the University of Delaware mentioned.

There can be insomnia due to cell phone usage as the blue light coming out from the cell phone screen interferes with melatonin production (a hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle) (also called as circadian rhythm), explained Dr Pritam Moon, consultant physician, Wockhardt Hospitals Mira Road. “There can be cognitive problems, and one can even become forgetful due to lack of sleep, and be unable to do any day-to-day activity with ease,” said Dr Moon.

Exposure to blue light for prolonged periods can disturb your sleep (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Dr Abhishek Subhash, Consultant Internal Medicine at Bhatia Hospital Mumbai added that people should disconnect from all kinds of devices at least one to two hours before going to bed to get a sound sleep. “A good ambience lighting, especially in the bedroom, will help in better sleep quality. Also, a proper diet and indulging in a good exercise regime daily will help you sleep better,” he said.

He added that having savoury and junk food loaded with calories, carbs and trans fat also disturb the sleep pattern. “Cutting down on alcohol and smoking also helps. For those who lead a stressful life, they should find out ways to decrease stress level by involving in meditation and other hobbies. Sleep deprivation affects both, mental health and overall physical wellbeing,” he stressed.

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