Feeling tired and unfocused in school because of exhaustion is not uncommon for MAST students.
There is something to blame for this lack of sleep that is experienced—lights, or more specifically, blue lights.
Blue lights come through on phones, computers, and televisions. The hard truth is this: the screens which take up much of our time are affecting our bodies in unperceivable ways.
The blue wavelengths which electronics emit are actually positive in the daytime. They boost attention, reaction times, and mood. On the other hand, when the sun goes down, the exact opposite ensues.
Sleeping problems, depression, anxiety, stress, headaches, and lack of attention are all side effects of using our phones, watching TV, or surfing the web before sleeping.
The exposure to radio-frequency waves is not good for one’s long term health.
At night, light throws off the body’s biological clock and suppresses the secretion of melatonin, which causes the body to become sleepy.
The blue and white light emitted from screens postpones the time it takes to go to sleep and makes people less productive the next day.
A recent poll of 150 MAST students found that over 50 percent of people have their phones next to them while they sleep.
This is directly related to the fact that one-third of students polled feel they must be available to answer messages at all hours of the day.
Having technology at their fingertips for the majority of time may be why 90 students say they get six or seven hours of sleep.
“Teenagers actually need one to two hours more sleep than adults, so that’s eight to eleven hours, depending on the person. It’s hard to get because of sleep latency and the way teens live. Sleep latency is the tendency to fall asleep late. Adolescent brains are wired in a way that makes it harder to fall asleep. On top of that, they stay up late for social reasons and have to get up early for school,” Chair of Pediatrics at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Judy Schaechter, said.
“Sleep texting” is becoming more common among the masses, especially among teenagers.
The accessibility of one’s phone while one is sleeping means the ringing of a text message or notification can slightly wake up the mind.
Generally, people will respond to a text in their sleep—the state of the mind and body is similar to sleepwalking.
The text sent is usually gibberish or words that do not make sense in a sentence and the person is not likely to remember the text the next morning.
Teens desperately need their sleep because their bodies and brains are still growing, and having our phones so readily available is a disturbance to sleep.
Whether it is browsing a timeline or answering WhatsApp messages, time seems to slip away as the minutes turn into hours late in the evening.
This lack of sleep and sleep quality has become the new normal, but is not something one should settle for.
Trying to use an actual alarm clock, putting the phone on the opposite end of the room, and attempting to avoid phone, laptop, or TV screens at least an hour before bed will result in a better sleep and feeling more refreshed the next day.