Are our wireless devices causing sleep problems?

Your wireless devices could lead to sleepless nights, and that can be very dangerous.

Losing sleep can make you more prone to serious health conditions.

One study shows not sleeping for more than 20 hours, then getting behind the wheel, can make you as impaired as someone who is legally drunk.

Doctors say all our gadgets may be the culprits that are stealing our sleep. So, how do we to stop the digital thieves?

Stephanie Lynn is a ballerina. The 18-year-old loved being on stage, but she had to give up her dancing dreams a few years ago because she wasn't dreaming enough!

Stephanie says, "I've always just had a lot of trouble sleeping."

She has tried sleeping pills, melatonin and sleep studies. So far, nothing has worked.

"It stinks. I look at the clock, it's three. I look at the clock, it's 4:30."

About one in four Americans have trouble sleeping from time to time. Close to 25 million are chronic insomniacs. People who suffer from sleep deprivation face serious health problems like diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Dr. Akinyemi Ajayi, a sleep specialist, says, "If you start gaining weight, then you're more prone to sleep apnea, and there's a whole bunch of other complications that comes with that."

Dr. Ajayi says staring at gadgets with bright screens for hours on end could be the source of our sleep problems.

"It can potentially impact the secretion of melatonin, which then affects your drive, your ability to go to sleep."

A recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation found 95% of people surveyed used some sort of gadget within an hour before bedtime.

Riley Fearon says, "Video games will always keep you awake. It's hard to actually like, stop playing a video game."

Dr. Ajayi says, "Try and shut off your computer at least an hour to an hour and a half before bedtime."

That goes for video games, cell phones and TVs too.

He tells us shutting them down can boost your melatonin.

Stephanie is interested to find out if technology's causing her problems.

She says, "Maybe I can try departing from my cell phone tonight and see how it goes."

She hopes to find an answer and turn her dream of getting back to ballet into a reality.

Dr. Ajayi says using your gadget to listen to soothing sounds or a relaxing playlist is okay.

However, he says listening to the radio to fall asleep is a bad idea because, unlike a playlist, you do not know what is coming next, and at any time, something can spark your interest, and you could be wide awake in an instant.


BACKGROUND: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), over 25 percent of Americans experience occasional sleep deprivation. A chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and weight loss or weight gain. It adversely affects the brain and cognitive function.

RISK FACTORS: Sleep deprivation can lead over a period of time to issues of the heart. There is sleep apnea (where a person stops breathing) as well and that's what causes them to not sleep well during the night. Other risk include:
* Diabetes is increased.
* The risk of stroke's doubled.
* The risk of heart attack is doubled or tripled in certain groups.
* There are blood pressure issues.

Teens and adults can also be more irritable and moody, and teens are subject to more behavior problems in school, being tardy, missing classes.

TECHNOLOGY: A whopping 95 percent of Americans use some kind of technology an hour before they go to sleep, the National Sleep Foundation found. 61 percent of Americans use a laptop or computer an hour before they go to bed. Generation Z and Generation Y were most likely to engage in that activity with 55 percent and 47 percent of people in those groups saying they use a computer before bed, respectively. Generation Z and Generation Y members are nearly twice as likely as baby boomers to play a video game an hour before trying to go to sleep.

The light from screens from electronics like notebooks and phones could prevent your body from producing melatonin, the hormone that is produced naturally in darkness and helps regulate sleep. Reading exciting news articles or playing games keeps your mind very active, making it difficult for you to relax and be 'ready' to fall asleep.

For More Information, Contact:
Steve Howard
The Children's Lung, Asthma & Sleep Specialists
(407)898-2767 Ext.211

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