Sleep and Technology Don't Mix: Sleep Poll
Too Much Technology and Caffeine, Too Little Sleep Plague Teens and Adults, Survey Finds
Sleep Poll: 2011 Edition continued...
The other reason? "Your sleep can be delayed because of the excitement of being involved with the computer [and other devices]," he says.
About one-fourth of those polled said they leave their cell phone ringers on at bedtime, and about 10% say they are awakened at least a few times a week in the middle of the night by phone calls, texts, or emails. That was reported more by younger respondents, including 18% of teens and 20% of people aged 19 to 29.
Drowsy Driving. Sleepiness took a toll on driving, the pollsters found, with drowsy driving surprisingly common.
Half of people aged 19 to 29 said they drove drowsy at least once in the past month. About one in 10 teens and 19 to 29-year-olds say they drive drowsy once or twice weekly.
Drowsy driving is blamed for more than 100,000 crashes annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including 1,550 deaths.
Coping Methods. Excessive caffeine and naps were often reported as coping mechanisms for lack of sleep.
The average person on a weekday reported drinking about three 12-oz caffeinated beverages, with little variation among age groups.
''This is a reflection of coping with either sleep deprivation or a sleep disorder," Rosenberg tells WebMD.
Naps are another way the survey respondents said they try to combat lack of sleep. More than half of the generation Y and Z respondents reported at least one nap during the work week.
Sleep Poll: Second Opinion
This year's survey focuses on technology, and its effect on sleep is particularly important, says Michael J. Thorpy, MD, professor of clinical neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
"A lot of the newer technologies we use involve the visual aspect," he tells WebMD. "Light is a very important factor when it comes to sleep and wake and circadian rhythms."
Staying away from bright screen light before bedtime is recommended, he says.
"The new thing here for me [from the survey] is that as we are moving into this highly technological age,” Thorpy says. “We are now starting to get information about the use of these technologies and the fact they will influence sleep-wake cycles."
Tips for Better Sleep
A better night's sleep is within your grasp, Rosenberg says. "If you could take the hour before bedtime and turn off the computer, the cell phone, and the TV, and engage in some better wind-down routines, it would be helpful for sleep."
Pick a wind-down routine that relaxes you, he says, such as reading or listening to music you find relaxing.
Another quick way to see sleep improvement? ''Avoid caffeine at night, even if you don't think it has an effect on your sleep," he says. The same goes for alcohol. It’s best to avoid both within three hours of bedtime, he says.