Technology Use & The Sleep Cycle

With rapid developments in the technology space, there is an application to assist with everything. There are apps for tracking movements, counting the steps and tracking your sleep. As these developments occur, technology usage increases.

Should we be considering the affect increased technology use can have on our bodies?

Research shows that exposure to light use can alter the sleep cycle through changes to the circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm, sometimes referred to as the ‘body clock’ is responsible for regulating processes that occur in the body such as sleeping, eating, body temperature, hormone production, regulation of glucose and insulin levels and cell regeneration among many other essential functions.

You may be thinking, ‘What does this have to do with my technology use?’

The circadian cycle is monitored through the 24-hour light-dark cycle. Photoreceptive cells containing melanopsin, a light-sensitive pigment, are located in the retina of the eye. These cells are most sensitive to short wavelengths or blue light, the light source that our devices such as smartphones and computers predominantly emit. Exposure to blue light prior to sleep can delay the circadian cycle.

Why does it matter if the circadian cycle is altered?

Sleep quality has been related to processes including:

  • Memory processing, brain development and learning.
  • Reduce melatonin production.
  • Energy Conservation.
  • Muscular repair and growth through hormones such as growth hormone and prolactin increasing during sleep.
  • Makes it harder to fall asleep and could be a contributing factor to sleep disorders.

“Well I’m not going to stop using my phone.”

 Luckily, with these technology developments, there are now plenty of options available to address this issue.

  • Some smartphones and computers now have settings that allow for the light settings to be adjusted to yellow light during set hours.
  • Applications available for computers remove the blue light from the screen.
  • Goggles that act as a blue light filter are available.

 


Emma Russo

Product Specialist

Emma is part of our Sports Scientists and Product team. She is the product owner of our individual elite athlete product, FitYou. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science.