What are the effects of

electronics use and the
Internet on sleeping
patterns?
BY DAVID PHILBIN

Hunter-Gatherer sleeping patterns
 Depended

on the environment and weather

 Members

in groups usually took turns to be
vigilant for predators during the night

 Sleeping

patterns differed depending on your
role in the tribe/group

 Depending

on circumstances no set bedtimes
eg. people slept when they felt like it

Segmented Sleep
 Absence

of artificial light meant that nights
(especially during winter) were long and dark

 First

and Second sleep

 No

major advantage to staying up late at
night

 People

wanted to get the most out of daylight

Change
 Birth

of electricity and artificial lighting
changed the way we lived

 Segmented

sleep became obsolete and the
standard ‘8 hours’ became the norm

 People

started to socialise at night as cities
were well lit

Change contd.
 Longer

working hours were introduced

 Electricity

inspired technological innovation
and invention eg. light bulbs, radio, television
and computers etc.

 Technological

advancement eventually led to
the emergence of what we know as The
Internet

What are the effects of electronics
use and the internet on sleeping
patterns?

Unstructured Hobby
 Term
 No

coined by Van de Bulck (2004)

definite start and end times

 Portable

devices like laptops and mobile phones only
exacerbate the problem

 Huge

number of popular television shows are on
between 9pm and Midnight

 Internet

allows television shows, movies and music to
be streamed on-demand

Instant Messaging & Online Gaming
 Apps

like Facebook messenger essentially make you
contactable 24/7

 Study

across 15 schools found that almost universally,
children with gaming computers and televisions in their
bedroom went to bed later on weekdays (Leuven study on
Media and Adolescent health)

 Study

of 1656 children in Belgium found that increased use
of mobile phones at bedtime raised the level of tiredness in
the morning and that being tired was ascribed to mobile
phones in 35% of the instances. (Van de Bulck, J. 2007)

 Many

gamers have online friends in different time-zones

Instant Messaging & Online Gaming

One more game loop
You play the
game
Friend
asks
you to
play
one
more
game

About
to sign
out

Light and sleep

Melatonin is a chemical that’s released by the body to regulate
sleep

Melatonin is usually suppressed during daylight then excreted
at night-time

Artificial lighting has been showed to affect melatonin
production (Gooley, J.J et al. 2010)

A study in America which looked at melatonin suppression from
artificial lighting found that melatonin suppression was highest
after being exposed to blue light from LEDs(West K.E et al.
2011)

Found in computer monitors, tablets, mobile phones.

What can we do?

Software available to dim your monitor light for you

As Adam Nash notes (2009)“F.lux is a free utility that
adjusts the glow of your monitor—both the brightness and
tint—based on the time of day, dimming your monitor
later into the evening and tinting the screen colour based
on the kind of lighting you employ.”

Amber tinted goggles or glasses may help to block out
the harmful blue light (Burkhart K, Phelps JR. 2009)

Try and keep your bedroom free of devices and pitchblack

What does the future hold?

The popularity of LEDS is growing

Cheap & efficient source of lighting

Further study is needed to look at LEDs affects on
sleep(West K.E et al. 2011)

Wearable devices will become increasingly common

Bedroom is not only a place of rest anymore

Electronics and the Internet will continue to cause
disruption to our sleep

Time to go to bed

Thanks
 Thank
 Any

you for your time

Questions?

References

http://anthropology.emory.edu/home/documents/worthman-lab/Ecol
ogy%20of%20Human%20sleep.pdf

http://lifehacker.com/5158832/flux-changes-your-screen-brightness-bytime-of-day

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3047226/?report=classic

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16964783

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20030543

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1978406/

http://www.journalsleep.org/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=25929

http://jap.physiology.org/content/110/3/619