28 Mar 2018

INSOMNIA!! – TURN OFF YOUR TABLETS

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DO YOU SUFFER FROM INSOMNIA?

There has been an explosion on the amount of SCREENS in our lives these days, resulting in an increase in suffering from insomnia.

A major factor in how human sleep is regulated is exposure to light or to darkness.

Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the retina in the eye to an area in the brain called the hypothalamus.

In the hypothalamus the supra-chiasmatic nucleus (SCN) sets off a regulated pattern of activities that affect the entire body. Once exposed to the first light each day, the SCN begins performing functions like raising body temperature and releasing stimulating hormones like cortisol. The SCN also delays the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset, until many hours later when darkness arrives.

MELATONIN TELLS YOUR BODY IT’S TIME FOR SLEEP

Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your pineal gland in your brain. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness arrives, the pineal is turned on by the SCN and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm.

As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply, you begin to feel less alert and sleep becomes more inviting.

Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about twelve hours before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels at about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.

TURN OFF YOUR TABLETS

This new research has found that screen time spent in front of back-lit screens such as you find on tablet computers, lap-tops and the like, reduces melatonin levels and can impair sleep.

This research was specifically done on people using self-luminous tablet computers to read, watch movies, or play games.

There was a wide variation in how much light the devices emitted so the researchers recommended that, given the impact on melatonin and therefore sleep, screens should be configured to reduce brightness and their use should be limited before bed.

It also highlights the point that a tablet is never the answer to insomnia.

The light coming from the TV or computer screen can make your brain believe that it’s daytime.

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