Asking me to wake up at six in the morning is like asking an elephant to squeeze through a snake hole, it just does not work out too well. Still, everyday, because of my school schedule, I’m expected wake up at the crack of dawn and go into school and try my hardest to not fall asleep. This is especially problematic when it’s no more than twelve degrees outside and there seems to be no thought more comforting that staying cuddled up beneath my warm wool comforter. But sleep is the one thing in my life that I try not to sacrifice when it comes down to the wire – though on many nights, even that sacrifice must be made.
Studies show that disorders like obesity and diabetes can be linked to sleep deprivation. Now, I was a chubby child so as I grow older I try to steer clear of anything that could turn me back into that plump little boy again, and in my eyes, sleep is an important factor. I feel much more satisfied after eating when I’ve had a full night’s rest than after a couple of hours of sleep or none at all. I try to keep my weekly routine roughly the same everyday so that I can get to bed at the same time every night and so that I can wake up fully rested and prepared for the long day ahead.
Some of the problems that this world faces when falling asleep is the constant lure of one’s tablet or T.V. or smartphone or computer. These devices can hurt our body’s melatonin production, especially when they lie only a couple of feet away from your head. The bright lights emitted from these devices can set our body’s internal clock back a couple of hours, making it harder to fall asleep. According to Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard, peoples internal sleep clocks, or circadian rhythms, have been pushed back almost six hours since the invention of electricity.
I know that speaking from my own experience that my laptop has been known to wake me up on most nights. It is not just the lights that come from these devices but it is also the noises, and my laptop is very loud for some reason when its motor decides to start running in the middle of the night even though it is closed. Perhaps removing all electronics from one’s room could do wonders for their sleep.
Czeisler also states that “it may that gradually lowering the lights might be more powerful than shutting them all off at once.” You can easily adjust the lighting on your computer screen or tablet or phone just by going to settings and adjusting the brightness. Also, installing a dimmer on one’s light might also be useful in the hour before sleep as you prepare for bed.
Another interesting thing about this whole technology before bedtime thing is that once engaged in specific information that can excite or stimulate the brain, a tiny bit of adrenaline is released which boosts energy in one’s body, making it difficult for them to fall asleep. I can vouch for this because when my phone is charging there is a small red dot that glows at the top of the screen, and when I get a text that dot disappears and is replaced with a tiny, flashing blue dot. This dot alone gets me excited, although, maybe that says more about me than it does for the technology.