People in our province, according to the Alberta Health Services, aren’t getting enough sleep. In recent surveys, fully one third of our citizens suffer with insomnia and it appears the condition is getting more prevalent. Recently, however, researchers have discovered a surprising new impediment to getting a good night’s sleep. The new wrinkle they have uncovered is that studies are showing that our sleep patterns are being compromised by our precious iPads.
The research team from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, NY has discovered that the blue lights given off by these devices have a curious effect on the brain, in that it increases the presence of a hormone called melatonin. This hormone has been linked to sleep-related issues, as well as obesity, diabetes and a number of other serious conditions.
The researchers noted that, even when watching television programs that emit the same blue color, it doesn’t have the same effect as a tablet, as these devices are designed to be held close to the eyes.
Besides, putting down those devious devices, doctors also recommend these tips for getting a better sleep without resorting to drugs:
1.Avoid excessive activity or exercise two hours before bed.
2. Avoid caffeine, and nicotine prior to retiring as both are stimulants.
3. Avoid alcohol. Although a nip has been shown to aid in getting to sleep, it disturbs the brain’s mental processes and you’re less likely to have a restful slumber.
4. Avoid over-eating or snacking before bed time.
5. Keep as regular a wake/sleep cycle as possible to train your body to be tired when it’s appropriate to be so. Avoid napping.
6. Only use your bed for sleeping, so your system recognizes that when you turn in for the night, you mean business. If you ignore the “no napping” rule, catch your forty winks on the couch, not the bed.
7. Don’t watch the clock.
8. If sleep doesn’t come within ten minutes or so, get up again and go through your bedtime rituals once more in a half an hour and give it another shot. Don’t lay there tossing and turning.
9. Experiment with “progressive relaxation” techniques; alternately flexing and resting each group of muscles from your face down to your feet.
10. Try “hot milk” a folk remedy that has shown to have scientific support. (Microwave milk, sweetener, a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg in a non-metallic cup; enjoy!)
11. If you’ve tried all of the above and are still desperate for some sut-eye, perhaps go to www.pipestoneflyer.ca and read back issues of our humor columnist’s articles. Just don’t read them on an iPad!