Sleeping problems linked to technology - - Jackson, MS

Sleeping problems linked to technology

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Do you get enough sleep? Have trouble winding down at night? Your technology might be part of the problem.

Nightfall and bedtime are around the corner, but for Martine George Powell, bedtime means the TV is on or there's no sleep to be had. "If you turn the TV off, I'm automatically just straight up." She says she hasn't had a good night's sleep in sixteen years.

Dr. James Herdegen is a sleep specialist at the University of Iowa. "Light affects sleep and the ability to fall asleep," he says.

At the U-I health sleep lab, Dr. Herdegen sees a stream of patients just like Martine. "One of the hormones that regulates our sleep, melatonin, can be influenced by light and the type of light we get, the wavelength of light and when we get that exposure to light."

To evaluate patients, cameras monitor patients all night long. Heart rate, breathing patterns, even brain waves to find out what's at the root of sleep problem.

Experts say it's increasingly clear that with TV's always on, smart phones and tablets that go to bed with you, the bright lights of the big city, residents are never really in the dark anymore and that's a problem.

"We're going to have a very turned on smartphone society that's looking at their phones at 1 in the morning and that's going to influence our sleep routines," Dr. Herdegen said.

"You know how kids have a security blanket? The TV is my security blanket," Powell explained. But she knows that to get a good night's sleep, she may have to give it up. "I'm going to have to adapt to it because I like my sleep, I would like to be a functional person."

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