Monday, September 12, 2011

Is social media stopping you from getting a good night's sleep?

We're tired of sensationalist stories which claim that social media is single handedly causing the breakdown of relationships, turning our brains into mush and making us more reclusive. However, a new study shows that it could have an impact on how well we sleep and although that might not seem as serious as developing OCD or whatever else tabloids are claiming, it means we're probably more grouchy, which is never a nice thing.

The study carried out by are also the guys behind the handy littlevoucher app) showed that 86% of those questioned spend time on social networking sites when they feel they really should be sleeping, with 52% logging on and tweeting, sharing and liking from their beds. This is hardly surprising considering how many of us use our phones as alarms, need to be checking emails 24/7 and how teeny tiny tablets are, but it still seems like a habit we need to kick before we start waking up EVERYday feeling like a sleepy zombie.

Michael J Breus, a clinical psychologist who specialises in sleep disorders, has written numerous articles here and there about the way technology is "stealing" your sleep away from you (Note use of sensationalist STEALING). And although some of what Breus says seems a little OTT, when it comes to sleep he really knows his stuff. In an article he wrote for Pyschology Today earlier this year, he suggests that you need to take some immediate steps to ensure you get a good night's sleep and this includes imposing a technology curfew, turning down the brightness of screens and seeing your bedroom as a gadget-free "sanctuary". That all sounds great but hardly doable, so here are a few of our favourite gadgets to help you out:

The Chillow You know how REALLY there's nothing better than the cool side of the pillow? Well The Chillow is a neat little squishy thing that fits inside of your pillow to keep it (and your head) nice and cool making it much easier to drift off. Available from Amazon for £27.45.

Pzizz Pzizz is a piece of (very pricey) software which plays all kinds of relaxing sounds and promises to send you to sleep. It works on all kinds of smart phones, computers and MP3 players choosing the best playlists to send you off peacefully. Available from Pzizz from $89.99.

Philips Wake-up Light The Philips HF3490 Wake-up Light is designed to slowly get you out of bed in the morning, making you feel more refreshed and less hurried and depressed. Its special light gradually wakes you up and works through a number of stages and its iPod / iPhone dock allows you to pick the music you'd like to wake up to. Available from Boots for £110.

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