Infographic: How Technology Affects Our Sleep

Throughout your life, you’ve probably been told how important sleep is for your body. However, did you know using technology could be negatively affecting your sleep patterns? According to The National Sleep Foundation, 95 percent of people surveyed admitted to using electronic devices prior to sleeping. Researchers have found using these devices so close to bedtime can lead to sleep disturbances, low energy and drowsy driving. Check out this infographic for more details on how technology affects your sleep – and what to avoid doing to get the best sleep possible for your body.

tech affects sleep inforgraphic, described in detail below.

Below the paragraph is an infographic which has an image of a person whose head is on a pillow, but who is wide awake and staring at a smart phone screen which is also on the pillow. The title “Type, Toss, Turn: How Technology Affects Our Sleep” is here, as well.

As an introduction, we are told: “A good night’s sleep is as vital to the human body as a steady supply of water and a nutritious diet. Healthy sleep is essential for proper brain and body functionality, but, unfortunately, it’s interrupted more often than not by the use of technology. Here, we take a look at how technology affects your sleep.”

The upper portion of the infographic on the page is entitled “Cell Phone Slumber.”

In the first set of graphs on the page, we see two circle graphs. The one on the left shows a smart phone and the information that, according to a recent study from the National Sleep Foundation, 95% of people surveyed reported using electronic devices immediately prior to sleep.

On the left is a circle graph showing the moon with the information that 39% of Americans use their cell phones on a nightly basis.

Separating those circles from the next set of graphs is a line of text: “Overall, people under the age of 30 are the greatest offenders.”

The next two graphs are shaped like elongated double-A batteries. They both seem to be powered up to about the 2/3 level. The top battery indicates that, yes, 67% of college students and postgrads aged 19 to 29 years old use their phones just before going to sleep. The lower battery, at 72%, tells us that this number is even higher for young adults and those aged 13 to 18.

The next section looks at the “alarming” number of texts that are read, sent, or received with the hour before sleeping. In this graph, “message bubbles” are stacked to indicate the number of texts read by different demographic groups.

Baby Boomers are shown to read 4 texts nightly, within the final hour before sleep. Moving up the stacks, we find that Gen-Xers read 15 texts within the final hour before sleep, Gen-Yers read up to 42 texts, and Gen-Zers read a whopping 56 texts nightly before sleep. This averages out to 21 texts being read nightly within the final hour before sleep across all demographics.

And, according to the next graphic, as if that wasn’t enough, 10% of all Americans leave their ringers on when they go to bed, resulting in text alerts or calls waking them up on a nightly basis.

The lower portion of the infographic is devoted to “Lucid Learning and the Residual Effects,” stating: “While the majority of college- and postgrad-aged adults use their cell phones within an hour of sleep, for this particular age group technological overload is in full force. Most college-aged adults perform the following activities an hour before they go to bed:”

Following this introduction is a set of icons supporting: 67% use cell phones; 60% use computers or laptops; 59% watch television; 43% listen to music; 18% play console video games.

On the left below this, we are told that, as a result, many college-aged adults have negative sleep experiences. This statement is backed by a series of “batteries” showing different levels of charges. These are broken down as follows:

51% report rarely or never getting a good night’s sleep
60% report waking up without feeling refreshed on a daily basis
66% report driving drowsily daily
16% report feeling tired throughout the day
17% report sleeping at least 2 hours longer on weekend days
52% report needing to nap daily

In support of this, the right-hand column gives us 2012 American College Health Association data, which found that:

49% of selected student respondents said they’ve felt exhausted, but not from physical activity.
16% of student respondents admitted that difficulties sleeping or falling asleep had caused them to receive lower grades on exams.

The final image on the lower left shows a smart phone with a glowing screen and explains that researchers have found that the artificial light from some devices’ screens may decrease the sleep hormone melatonin, which causes lack of sleep in those who use the devices within an hour of sleep.

On the bottom right, the sleepless student from the opening graphic is back, accompanied by the fact that using devices so close to bedtime can result in sleep disturbances, low energy, drowsy driving, lack of concentration, and lowered information retention (something a college student cannot afford to lose during class).

The final piece of the infographic reminds us: “While 86% of college students use laptops and another 62% use smartphones for educational benefits, shutting them down at least an hour before going to bed can help ensure quality sleep.”

At the bottom of the page, next to a Rasmussen College logo, we have the sources for the information included in the infographic. They are as follows:

National Sleep Foundation, Sleep in America Poll, Communications Technology in the Bedroom, 2011

USA Today, Glow Affecting Americans’ Sleep, 2011

Educause, Education Center for Applied Research (ECAR) Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, Author: Eden Dahlstrom, 2012

This infographic was created by Column Five for Rasmussen College.

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