Stressed? Middle-aged? Male? Then you’re probably suffering from sleep deprivation according to one US study. But before the rest of you start partying like its 00:59 – it seems we’ve all got issues. And the culprit? Technology!
A lack of sleep can dramatically impair memory, leading to so-called ‘senior moments.’ It’s a shock when your memory goes on the blink while you’re still sporting the youthful looks of a wannabe reality-TV celeb. So if you have an important task that requires you to remember more than just how you take your coffee in the morning, you’d better get to bed early. Now, what was I saying?
Oh yes, technology. We all love how computing power has been miniaturised from ‘big bertha’ proportions to something that comfortably fits in the palm of your hand. (Compare that to the first electronic general purpose computer called Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, or ENIAC to its geeky friends. ENIAC was more than 8 feet tall and 100 feet long.) The problem is, the more portable the device, the harder we find it to let go. Even when it’s time for bed.
Scientists tell us that the ‘blue light’ emitted from handheld devices like iPads, makes the brain think it is daylight. This, in turn, interferes with melatonin production, which regulates our internal body clock. Interestingly, if the light were red or orange, it wouldn’t be so bad because the brain associates these colours with sunset, which naturally occur before… sleep!
Some researchers propose operating ‘blue light’ emitting devices while wearing orange tinted goggles. Great news if you think Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas are style icons. Not so good if you don’t like to live alone.
And if all else fails, remember the words of American author Jarod Kintz who said, “I’m not a very good sleeper, but you know what? I’m willing to put in a few extra hours every day to get better. That’s just the kind of hard worker I am.”