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Sleep Texting

19-11-2013

Sleep Texting

Don’t do it. That is the message. It could be slowly killing you. It might seem innocent, it may seem harmless. Everyone is doing it but that doesn't make it any less damaging. Sleep texting could be slowly killing you so put down the phone and close your eyes. Your body and brain will thank you later, that is for sure.

The problem
You would have to be a bit slow not to have noticed the dominance of cell phones in the past decade or so. Back in the 90s a few of us had phones but they were nothing more than a communication device. Today, smart phones have become many people’s be all and end all. They are their social conduit, they are essential to business, they are a mobile entertainment device, they are an addiction.
While there are a number of issues that this growing addiction has created, we are concerned with one in particular, using your phone in bed. We call it sleep texting but it really means doing anything on your smart phone while you are in bed.

What is wrong with sleep texting?
So what is wrong with sleep texting? Everyone is doing it, right? Well the major issue with sleep texting is that you are playing havoc with your body clock. This clever mechanism (no it is not an actual clock) regulates your sleep wake cycle and if you throw it out of whack you can suffer a huge range of complications and issues, ranging from memory recall issues right up to shortening your life.

What is the body clock?
So how does this all fit together you might be asking? Well, the body clock uses light as one of its means of synchronizing with the outside world. The regular on-off cycle of the sun has been more than enough for the body clock over our thousands of years of evolution but as we humans have begun to master the world around us we have started interfering with this. Electric lights have allowed us to extend the light period and smart phones are only making it worse.

The body clock is an incredible mechanism that uses external clues and a range of different hormones to make you tired before bed and to wake you up when you need to get up. The very qualities that make it amazing also mean that it can be somewhat temperamental and you do not look after it you will suffer the consequences.

The smart phone
Smart phones have backlit screens, they project light directly into your eyes. Unlike an electric light, which we do not usually look straight into, when we are on our phone we are beaming the light straight into our eyes.

The result
If you have ever been jetlagged then you have suffered from your body clock being desynchronised. It can quickly recover and in a few days you will be fine again, but if you are doing this to your body clock every night in bed then you are causing long term damage.


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