Technology exists largely to make our lives easier. Our electronics allow you to do virtually anything you want from the comfort of your own home. Communication, entertainment, and even work can all be accomplished through your devices. You can chat with people from anywhere in the world, play video games whenever you want to, and shoot business emails out at any time of the day or night. Despite the benefits of technology, these devices may be disrupting your sleep. For people suffering from sleep apnea, losing sleep to these beloved electronics could worsen an already serious problem.

Firing Up Electronics Before Bed

Tired man, lying in bed with a cell phone in his handWatching TV before bed is a popular habit. Many people even have television sets installed in their bedroom so that they can lie in bed and enjoy their favorite shows to relax with before they drift off. Watching TV may seem like it relaxes you, but don’t be fooled. The truth is, watching TV before bed stimulates the brain. This stimulation sets the neurons racing, which is the opposite of what you want when laying down to sleep. Your brain will remain stimulated even after you turn off the TV, and may take longer to drop into the deeper sleep stages required for proper resting. Other electronic interactions such as playing video games or reading emails will also stimulate the brain and postpone sleep.

Television is not the only technology infiltrating your sleeping quarters and robbing you of your sleep. The artificial light put off by electronics, especially blue light, can disrupt your sleep. Light prevents the effective release of the hormone melatonin, which reduces alertness in order to help the brain wind down. This hormone is produced by the pineal gland, located toward the center of the brain. If enough light enters the eye, the pineal gland will not begin producing melatonin and you may unknowingly push of sleep far longer than you would have without your electronics.

Lost Sleep and Sleep Apnea

Your body needs sleep. Without it, you can’t function properly. People who do not regularly get enough sleep often see a decrease in alertness, have memory problems, become depressed, and can even develop heart and kidney problems. For people suffering from sleep apnea, sleep deprivation is already a reality. The negative impact of sleep deprivation on the cognitive mind has been compared to being legally intoxicated, meaning that a lack of sleep increases the risk of injury and car accidents.

People with sleep apnea can experience multiple sleep disruptions in a night, cutting into the amount of time that their brain is in the deeper stages of sleep. These disturbances often go unnoticed, especially if you don’t wake up all the way. When you are constantly pulled out of deep sleep, your body and mind are not able to rest properly. Adding the negative impact of electronics can put sleep apnea patients at a higher risk of not getting enough sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests avoiding the use of electronic devices within 30 minutes of going to bed. It is also recommended to keep phones, electronic readers, tablets, and laptops out of your sleeping area to limit temptation and to keep blue light out of the area. Protecting your sleep can help keep you alert the following day, lowering the risk of accidents and injury.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, B & D Dental Excellence can help. Your sleep apnea may be treated through a variety of treatment options, including oral appliance therapy and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. Please call (845) 627-7645 to learn more about how B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack can help you reclaim your sleep today.