nhsstaywell.org"Having trouble sleeping? Check for a glow, inches from the pillow.
Using a smartphone, tablet or laptop at bedtime may be staving off sleep, according to Harvard Medical School scientists, who have found specific wavelengths of light can suppress the slumber-inducing hormone melatonin in the brain.
... The Australian New Zealand Journal of Public Health says roughly one in four Kiwis suffer from a chronic sleep problem leading to compromised alertness, reaction time, efficiency, productivity and mood, according to Australia's Sleep Health Foundation.
...'Sleep is in a battle for our time with work life, social life and family life,' said sleep specialist David Hillman, who is chairman of the Sleep Health Foundation. 'For a lot of us, it comes a poor fourth in that battle.'"
JASON GALE : TECH IN BED? YOU'LL NEVER DROP OFFLINE. Gadgets and gizmos ruin any chance of a good night's rest. Sunday Star Times. Focus Health. February 2. 2014. p. A12.
The 4am phone call from India this morning in our house, was a sleep waker for me. I verbally fumbled through a brisk conversation with the heavily accented man, telling him that we were all asleep and he needed to phone back in four hours. This happens at times at our place. Even though I then went to the toilet and had a sip of water before I climbed back into bed, it still took ages to drift off again. When my phone alarm went off two hours later I woke with the affects of an interrupted night's sleep. But Jason Gale's article suggests that it is not phone calls alone that destroy the possibility of a 'good night's sleep'!
We all know that parents need sufficient sleep to be able to think straight, make well informed decisions, be positive role models, love and care for their family and be the type of parent they wish to be.
We all know that parents are time-poor people and that the last paragraph in the quote above is completely true.
What we don't know, is how to prevent becoming mummies who have lost their memory or zombie-faced fathers, because we have few ideas about what needs to change in our lives in the sleep department.
In this post I want to firstly list some effects of sleep deprivation, and secondly comment on some habits, that if changed, could assist parents to get the sleep they need and become better people in innumerable ways. Jason Gale's terrific article fuelled virtually all that follows.
SOME EFFECTS OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION ~
LESS SLEEP = insufficient time for our body to daily rest and recover.
= "compromised alertness"
= "compromised reaction time"
= "compromised efficiency"
= "compromised productivity"
= "compromised mood"
= increased likelihood of accidents and injuries.
= "association with obesity"
= "association with diabetes"
= "association with heart disease"
= "association with cancer"
SOME HABITS, THAT IF CHANGED, COULD ASSIST PARENTS TO GET THE SLEEP THEY NEED ~
+ Don't use a computer, laptop or tablet in the hour leading up to going to sleep - PROOF SOURCE - The United States National Sleep Foundation's, International Bedroom Poll 2013.
+ Don't watch television the hour before going to sleep - PROOF SOURCE - The United States National Sleep Foundation's, International Bedroom Poll 2013.
+ Don't have a computer, laptop, tablet or television in the bedroom - PROOF SOURCE - Sleep researcher, Sarah Loughran, University of Woolongong, Australia.
+ Don't look at phone screens or artificial light late at night - PROOF SOURCE - Charles Czeisler, Professor of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School.
+ Don't choose LED lighting at home, rather use "yellow-based lighting in the evening" - PROOF SOURCE - Charles Czeisler, Professor of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School.
+ Don't just turn off house lights all at once at the end of the night, rather "gradually lower" or dim them. - PROOF SOURCE - Charles Czeisler, Professor of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School.
+ If computers MUST be used at night, reduce "the screen's blue wavelength light." - PROOF SOURCE - Charles Czeisler, Professor of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School. You can download Michael Herf's free software program, "f.lux", which "automatically alters the intensity and spectrum of light emitted by the display according to the time of day."
Dr Charles Czeisler of the Harvard Medical School has been involved in sleep research for over 40 years and "has written about 200 scientific papers and review articles on the subject.", so he is worth listening to.
Maybe it is worth digging out the old alarm clock once again, for the purpose of getting a good night's sleep and waking up on time.
PS. On another subject - for those who knew we were away travelling in Italy, we had a GREAT time! So many beautiful places, surprising conversations, a mind-full of memories, and a lot of photos to deal with now. But it is very good to be home.