High-speed internet has changed the way we send and receive information. In less than 10 seconds, you can download webpages filled with multimedia content, or send videos to your loved ones.
While high-speed internet has been here for a while now, we have yet to grasp fully how high-speed internet usage affects our behavior. And, more importantly, our health.
Health experts and hundreds of studies have proven how sleep deprivation leads to long-term outcomes. Lack of sleep ranks among the top precursors of chronic illnesses, cognitive problems and mood disorders.
New research has shared how high-speed internet affects your sleep.
Though social media updates and instant messaging can keep you entertained in the wee hours, you must know when to give those eyeballs a rest.
Published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the new study focused on how people use digital devices and computers with high-speed internet before sleeping, and how it disrupts sleep patterns.
Take note that the Bocconi University researchers already know the severe effects of little rest on our moods and cognitive performance the next day. We know screen time takes a toll on circadian rhythms and sleep. This study focused on how high-speed internet access usage steals from your seven to nine hours.
To understand the link between internet use and sleep deprivation, the researchers scrutinized surveys on sleep in the US. They also looked at how people reported their computer or device usage before bed and national broadband data reports.
Sleep Deprivation and the Internet
The study found that people with high-speed internet access sleep 25 minutes less than those without it. These internet users are likely to sleep less than seven to nine hours per night. And they are less satisfied with their overall sleep quality.
This study is the first to find a causal relationship between sleep deprivation and high-speed internet access, Vice’s Motherboard reports. It can spearhead other studies on how internet access affects sleep.
The researchers added that high-speed internet elicits excessive electronic media use. The temptation to check emails or refresh the Facebook newsfeed before bed comes at the cost of better sleep quality.
They also observed “high-speed internet use makes it very enticing to stay up later to play video games, surf the web,” and spend more time on social media. By sharing this growing public health issue, the researchers hope to bring more awareness to our tech use before we hit the sack.
“Given the growing awareness of the importance of sleep quantity and quality for our health and productivity, providing more information on the risks associated with technology use in the evening may promote healthier sleep and have non-negligible effects on individual welfare and well-being,” said the researchers.
How to stop the lure of social media and the internet before bed? Change your routine.
If health matters to you, turn off your wireless modem or phone data before you retire. You can divert the attention to some good music, a book, or a few minutes of meditation to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. More importantly, avoid the blue light.