Last night, I finished writing an essay at 11:30 p.m. and promised myself that I would sleep at 12:00 a.m. As I settled into bed, I grabbed my computer to watch the latest episode of Suits. An hour later, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed on my phone. I finally went to sleep at 2:00 a.m.
I’ve noticed that looking at my phone prior to sleeping has actually extended my bedtime by at least one hour. There are days where I’ve fallen asleep at 3:00 a.m. after binge-watching TV shows and shopping hauls on YouTube.
Research reveals that using a light-emitting electronic device, such as a laptop or phone, prior to sleeping has a negative impact on one’s health and sleep schedule. A study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences revealed that individuals who read books on an i-pad took longer to fall asleep, were less sleepy before bedtime, and less alert in the morning even after 8 hours of sleep as compared to individuals who read printed books.
Much to my dismay, I have been experiencing the same symptoms. I am unable to fall asleep at 12:00 a.m. and even when I wake up for a 10:00 a.m. class. I have trouble staying awake despite getting over 8 hours of sleep. Moreover, I’ve also found that this is beginning to interfere with my daily schedule. Last semester, I used to make an effort to work out in the morning, but this semester I’ve witnessed a decline in exercise as I am incapable of waking up before 9:00 a.m.
I’ve noticed that many of my friends and peers face the same problem. Even those who are aware of the negative effects of excessive screen time have not made an effort to alter their habits. While using technology in college is unavoidable, perhaps more awareness needs to be directed to this issue.