H-HEALTH NEWS

Mar 7, 2011 6:01 AM by Erika Edwards, NBC News (BT)

Study: Americans not getting enough sleep and technology may be to blame

Let's face it. It's not easy to get rolling on Monday mornings. But the rest of the today may be shot, too... and technology could be to blame.

Sleep just isn't a priority when you're in Las Vegas because of the bright lights and entertainment offered on the famous Strip. It's the same reason many of us don't get enough sleep in our own homes. "You begin to have a 24/7 culture of entertainment. And these technologies have invaded the bedroom," said Dr. Charles Czeisler, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

A new National Sleep Foundation poll finds almost two-thirds of U.S. adults say they aren't getting enough sleep, less than seven hours on the average week night.

Why?

Almost everyone in the survey said they often used some kind of electronic device in the hour before bedtime. Things like a TV, computer, video game or cell phone. Experts say our brains simply aren't ready for sleep when our heads hit the pillow because of those stimulants and artificial light. "The light exposure is physiologically changing us so that we're more alert and less likely to even want to go to bed," said Dr. Czeisler.

The majority of the sleep-deprived in the study said he lack of quality shut-eye left them fatigued, moody and unable to perform at maximum capacity the next day. Yet, technology calls night after night. "They're being captivated by the very technologies that are denying them the sleep that they know that they need," said Dr. Czeisler.

More than half of the teenagers polled said they spend that hour before bedtime texting, and some are woken up in the middle of the night by text message alerts.

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