Published on November 27th, 2012 0
The bad sleep epidemic: ‘semi-somnia’ triggered by stress and computer use
While it does not have unbearable symptoms of acute insomnia, which can lead to depression, weakened immune system, hypertension or heart disease this condition, recently observed by specialists called “semi-somnia”, is also associated with an entire cohort of adverse effects on health.
Instead of remaining up all night, without being able to sleep, as it happens with true insomniacs, “semi-somniacs” were part of short-term sleep disorders night, especially during the very a busy or stressed day.
Thus, they can wake up each night for 30 minutes, or cannot sleep for a hour because of thoughts that assail them. Sometimes, sleep poorly, too little profound, the brain is still active and bombarded with information, so that while sleeping, its not really resting. The next day, they wake up already shaken, head full of problems they have to solve, and are angry and tired all day, which affects their ability to concentrate and therefore labor efficiency.
In the UK, approximatively a third of the population suffers from sleep problems, and scientists are trying to find the true causes of this epidemic.
A consulting firm called The Energy Project, which helps people to overcome problems caused by fatigue, has studied for 5 years approximatively 30,000 people with sleep disorders. Jean Gomes, president of the company, believes that, given the observations of researchers, the most likely cause is invasion of semi-somnia technology in people’s lives.
“People have always been part of stress, and this affects sleep, but before work and home life were separated in time and space: leaving the office meant to break away from problems at work. They might have had a stressful day, but brain processing problems overnight and the next day wake up refreshed mind.
Now, however, ways to relax - shopping on-line, sending messages to Twitter while you watch TV, surf Facebook - means that our brains are in a constant state of alert”, said Jean Gomes.
And when we go to bed, this can cause big trouble.
To sleep, three things must happen: reducing light intensity causes synthesis “sleep hormone” melatonin, body temperature begins to drop and relax the mind and body, allowing the nervous system to disconnect.
However, intensive use of technology interfere with each of these issues. Studies show that the presence of bright screens can reduce melatonin secretion by about 25% and that persons exposed bedtime radiation produced by cell phones need more time to enter the deeper stages of sleep and less time remaining these stages.
Other research has shown that what we read on-line can be overly active mind and concerned. One of them said that if check bedtime Twitter and Facebook accounts of the company he was working, always found something that had failed to respond to sleep if not achieved.
During sleep, the brain processes information gathered during the day, but the enormous amount of information which they acquire in the online environment may be simply too large to be managed properly. Portion of the brain responsible for processing information in this way is relatively small, so the effect is not present.
As a result, spend more time in those stages of sleep we process information and less time in deep stages of sleep, we need to revive us. Then we wake up tired and most of us do not realize what is happening until you cease to live that way.
A UK marketing director, Engi Bally, aged 30 years, noticed the phenomenon when he changed jobs, committing to a firm that applies a strict policy forbidding employees to check e-mails on company account or to handle professional projects outside office hours. The change was extraordinary: Bally Engi noticed that her energy level had risen considerably since the period when, in her former job, employers are expected to be available 24 hours on 24 for 7 days a week, so I slept with mobile phone and laptop with her to cope with requests immediately. This happens about twice a night, taking the total of no more than one hour of sleep, and did not seem anything too serious, not realized that this is a problem until she stopped it. Only then did she realize how much one actually gets tired.
Her story shows that it is possible to “reconquer” restful sleep provided to take effective action.
First, you must be aware that 8 hours of sleep a night does not start automatically when we’re getting into bed, but must be “ready” throughout the day.
Scientists believe that our minds suffering from information overload not only because of the sheer volume of information, but also because we do not pause to assimilate them. For example, once, when a person waiting for a friend at a place he spent his time on slowly all around, letting his mind wander, as this allowed the brain to process the meantime, some of the information absorbed by then, minimizing the amount of work they have to do at night. Today, however, in a similar situation, it is likely that the person expected to spend time checking their messages or surfing the internet, creating a new influx of information that the mind has to process.
To get a truly restful sleep and ways to cope up with semi-somnia, experts recommend:
- “Information mini-brakes ” for a few minutes, every 90 minutes during activity at work or when going by public transport or sit in a queue.
- Evenings when using devices with screens to adjust the screen brightness to a lower value and reduce “sessions” in less than an hour, because research shows that brief exposure to light screens not significantly affect melatonin levels, also to increase the font size and keep the screen away from us, to minimize radiation exposure to light.
- Do not check emails at work or even personal ones that we know we can cause anxiety or nervousness (this is a difficult step for many people who tend to believe that something bad will happen if there are permanently connected to the means of communication).
- If the problem is that you do not feel refreshed after you sleep, quit spending your evenings at Twitter or any other site where the information is updated very quickly, many patients have noticed that there is a correlation between speed of information read before bedtime and poor quality sleep.
The most important recommendation: one hour before bedtime, turn all electronic gadgets. Experts call this action “electronic twilight”, which allows natural sleep mechanisms into action.
Along with healthy eating and exercise, restful sleep is one of the cornerstones of a good health, sense of wellness characterized by a high level of energy.