Technology Keeping You Awake at Night? Local Doctor Offers Advice

Posted at 5:30 PM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2017-05-30 09:18:16-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- For many, a good night's sleep is more of a luxury than a necessity... but new technology is hoping to change that.  

If your nighttime routine means tossing and turning, you're not alone. Research shows more than half of Americans say they could benefit from an extra hour of sleep. 

There are some simple changes that can make you feel more well-rested, and it all starts with light.  

Dr. David Huang of the Tallahassee Memorial Sleep Center says going completely dark can make all the difference.

"Light can hit your eye and then go to your brain, the clock that help sets your circadian rhythm. So excessive light can make that clock get set back later, and make people want to go to bed later," said Dr. Huang. 

He recommends dimming the lights in your house and putting down all electronics two hours before hitting the hay.  

Now let's face it, though... not using technology right before you go to bed can be really hard. So Apple has now created Night Shift. It takes all the blue tones out of your phone so the light you're seeing is a lot warmer and not as harsh, so you'll have no problem catching some Z's.

"You have different spectrums of light hitting your eyes at a lower intensity. It may not affect certain hormones in your body, and it may not make you stay up as late," said Dr. Huang. 

Smartwatches and fitness trackers can help monitor your sleep habits, showing when you get your best sleep and how often you're waking up each night.  

"It's always a good idea to know how much you sleep. If you know how much you want to get and you know how much you're actually getting, then hopefully you can make an adjustment and get probably more sleep. That's something that's always very common - we are all short on sleep," said Dr. Huang.

He adds that sleep loss doesn't just make for a groggy morning, either. It's linked to a number of conditions, including obesity and heart problems.

And don't assume sleeping in on the weekends will be enough.  

"Setting a set sleep time and a set awake time every day for the rest of your life is always very good. I guess the best way to put it is just be boring," advised Dr. Huang. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. For teens, it's 9-10 hours. 

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