Posted by Silky Chandvani on March 08, 2011

According to a major survey conducted by the U.S. based National Sleep Foundation (NSF), 43 percent of the Americans aged between 16 to 24 have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, especially on week nights.

Researchers claim that nine out of ten people admit watching TV, playing video games using cell phones, and surfing internet an hour before sleeping.

Artificial glare emitted by electronic devices at home and over-stimulation of the brain have both been blamed for wrecking sleep patterns, the Daily Mail reports.

David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation, said, "This poll explores the association between Americans' use of communication technologies and sleep habits.

"While these technologies are commonplace, it is clear that we have a lot more to learn about the appropriate use and design of this technology to complement good sleep habits."

Majority of Americans sleep-deprived
In the annual poll, 2011 Sleep in America, the researchers randomly selected 1,508 people between the ages of 16 to 64 and analyzed their sleep patterns and behaviors.

Researchers used a validated clinical sleepiness screening tool, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, for all of the participants. The poll also used standard measures to evaluate the next day impact of inadequate sleep to assess mood, family, and social life.

The study findings show that Americans are addicted to active use of technology in the hour before dozing off. Nearly 95 percent of those surveyed reported disturbed sleep patterns as a result of using electronics an hour before turning out the lights.

The study found pervasive use of technology among significant population of Americans with over 60 percent suffering sleep problems like snoring, waking in the night, waking up too early, or feeling un-refreshed when they get up in the morning.

Further, 15 percent of the adults, aged between 19 and 64, and 7 percent of 13 to 18-year-olds said that they slept less than six hours on week nights.

Dr Charles Czeisler, of Harvard Medical School, said, “Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts normal sleep patterns to a later hour."

"Unfortunately, cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep at night leaving millions of Americans functioning poorly the next day," the Reuters quoted Russell Rosenberg, the vice chairman of the Washington DC-based National Sleep Foundation NSF.L, as saying.

“Technology has invaded the bedroom. Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported they routinely get less sleep than they need,” Czeisler explained.

Kids and teenagers suffer most
Experts advice at least 9 hours of sound sleep for adolescents and kids.
Lack of sleep adversely affects work, mood, behavior with family, driving habits, sex lives, and health, according to NSF.

"One in 10 kids report they are being awoken by texts after they have gone to bed. People don't turn off their Blackberries," said Czeisler, adding that much of this is happening at the expense of sleep.

"I am the most concerned about how little sleep 13-18 years are getting," said Czeisler. "Kids today are getting an hour and a half to two hours less sleep per night than they did a century ago. That means that they are losing about 50 hours of sleep per month.

Considering the impact of use of gadgets before bedtime on the quality of sleep, researchers recommend switching off the electronics and relaxing before sleeping.

"Parents should get these technologies out of the bedrooms of kids if they want them to do well (in school)," he warned.

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