Many people use their mobile phones or computers before going to sleep and once they finish they experience certain difficulties to fall asleep. The reason is that the blue light emitted by these devices affects us at the brain level causing a reduction in the segregation of melatonin, a hormone that among its functions has to warn the body that it is time to sleep.
This phenomenon, so common nowadays, is known as digital insomnia. It is a disorder that affects our sleep, making us sleep less or in worse conditions, not only by the effect of lights and screens, but also by the difficulties to disconnect from our daily worries.
The overstimulation of the brain that produces digital insomnia
There are a lot of people who check the phone just before sleep, and also a good number who do it when they wake up in the middle of the night. On the other hand, many other people see it as their first action as soon as they wake up. All this means that we can not separate contact with technology, social networks or the work of our moments of rest.
The succession of screens and images and hyperactivity fostered by the Internet produce a series of over-stimulations in the brain. This causes our nervous system to send a signal contrary to what is needed late at night.
The digital insomnia and the light of the screens
As we already mentioned, the artificial light emitted by elements such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets can be one of the most common causes of digital insomnia. The backlit screens disrupt the secretion of melatonin.
This hormone should begin to be released at least an hour before we fall asleep. However, the effect of the screens alters their production, which means difficulties to fall asleep. Given this, some elements such as electronic books, whose screens are usually opaque and black and white, are less harmful.
The digital insomnia is caused, mainly, by the excessive use of the mobile or the computer before sleeping.
What are the main causes of digital insomnia?
In addition to the mentioned lights of the screens, there are other factors responsible for digital insomnia. They are the following:
The marathons of television series
Spending many hours in front of the television, especially just before sleep, can alter our rest. In this sense, a less harmful pastime is reading before going to sleep. In addition, it can be a good method to relax and begin to fall asleep.
Do not leave the phone
Using the phone as an alarm and leaving it by the bedside makes the phone no longer just a telephone. It is a device that we use at all times, and that we do not leave aside even to fall asleep. In addition, being with the cell phone before sleep makes it impossible to disconnect from social networks and daily concerns.
Video games in network
Network video games can be especially addictive. Many people spend a lot of hours immersed in them, extending the playing time until bedtime.
In addition, for some time now videogames have stopped being destined almost exclusively to the adolescent audience. Nowadays, people of very different age ranges consume these products, which, although it may have a positive side, also increases the problems of digital insomnia.
How to relax a hyperactive brain?
As the problem of digital insomnia increases, different solutions also emerge that try to mitigate the negative effects of technology on our hours of rest. A curious example are the reinventions of the lullabies.
These classic songs with which parents helped their children to sleep have been incorporated into several mobile applications to allow us to sleep better. However, this supposes the irony of continuing to depend on the mobile to sleep.
On the other hand there is the use of earplugs, which allow us to isolate ourselves from the external noises that prevent us from sleeping or the use of white noise, with which we can stop paying attention to the distractions that bother us during the night. The reading is also highly recommended and above all, the reduction of time of use of electronic devices. There is even pharmacological treatment, although in this case it is best to consult a doctor.