Sleeping Well in the Digital Age

A month after three American scientists won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work on circadian rhythms, most other Americans will observe the annual rite of “falling back.” On Nov. 5, daylight saving time will allow us to catch up on a little sleep right before diving into the holiday season.

But the work of the Nobel-winning researchers — Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young — suggests we should be catching up more than just once a year. Their findings showed how plants, animals, and humans adapt their biological rhythm to match the Earth’s revolutions. We also now know that irregular sleeping patterns are harmful to our health, and one culprit is the amount of time people spend looking at screens.

Between smartphones, computer monitors, TVs, and tablets, excessive screen time is the new normal. Studies show that the average American looks at their phone 46 times every day and spends 11 hours per day on gadgets. [1] That behavior disrupts our quality of sleep, which in turn negatively impacts our circadian rhythm — our internal clocks that regulate “behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature, and metabolism,” according to the Nobel Prize recipients.

Nursing@Georgetown created the following infographic to illustrate why it’s important to reduce your screen time before going to sleep. Read on to learn more.

[1] “An Era of Growth: The Cross-Platform Report Q4 2013”:

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Citation for this content: Nursing@Georgetown’s Online FNP Program