60-Second Science

Electronic Gadgets Before Bed Can Hinder Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation released results of its annual survey. Christie Nicholson reports

The National Sleep Foundation released the results of its annual sleep poll today, where they surveyed more than 1,500 people between ages of 13 and 64.

Here are some of the findings: 43 percent of Americans say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep during the week.

Nearly everyone, 95 percent, use electronics (like TV, computer, or cell phone) within the hour just before bed. Researchers caution that the use of such devices are particularly harmful to the sleep-onset process, since the artificial light can suppress the release of melatonin which is our sleep hormone.

More than half of teenagers report consuming and producing text messages every night just before bed compared to only 15 percent of those in their 30s and 5 percent of the baby boomers.

And it’s the teenagers who are the sleepiest of all, with baby boomers getting the most sleep. Scientists caution since most teens get two hours less sleep than the recommended 9 hours, maybe an environment with fewer OMGs and ROFLs might encourage a calm wind down before bed.

—Christie Nicholson

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