Do you enjoy reading on an electronic device or using your computer right before bed? If so, it could be affecting your sleep and your productivity! Here’s why.
Impact of nighttime electronic use
Recent research shows that “using these (electronic) devices before bed prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep, delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of melatonin (a sleep promoting hormone), reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness in the morning”.
Exposure to blue light and its effect on sleep
According to sleep research, particularly in the last 20 years, it has been determined that exposure to blue, green, cyan and orange light waves stimulate the circadian system. Since electronic devices including TV, laptops, smartphones and electronic reading devices emit these colors, they can directly stimulate your circadian rhythm and trick your body into not feeling sleepy. In my article “The Sleep Cycle App Can Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Be More Productive”, I discuss your sleep cycle in more detail. The Sleep Cycle App is a great way to track your current sleep cycle.
Productivity and the need for sleep
We all know, either intuitively or from experience, that when we feel sleep deprived we don’t function at our best. Science has demonstrated that there are consequences to the lack of adequate sleep. An article by Hagit Liran ‘How Sleep Affects Your Brain, Your Productivity, and Your Safety” summarizes these consequences:
- Reduced cognitive performance
- Poor memory consolidation
- Impaired attention and decision-making
- Slow reaction time
- Reduced immunity
- Shortened lifespan
- Symptoms of ADHD
If you are lacking sleep, regardless of the reason, it can be directly influencing your productivity. Isolate the reason, fix the problem and you will feel better and be more productive!
If your poor sleep is due to the late night use of electronic devices, the obvious answer is to eliminate the use of these devices at least one hour before bedtime. Consider meditation, reading an old-fashioned book, or listening to soothing music. If the thought of cutting out electronics makes you gasp in horror, there is another option. The f.lux® app is available for download for both macOS and Windows devices, Linux, iPhone/iPad and Android devices. This app adjusts the color of your screen based on the time of day and the type of lighting of the room that you are in. This can significantly reduce your exposure to blue, green, cyan and orange light waves at nighttime.
Simply download the app and a screen with instructions will open
Follow the instructions so f.lux can adjust the color settings on your screen based on your location (which determines time of day) and the type of lighting in your room or office
You can always adjust your preferences, change the color or even disable the program in the event you are working on graphics, for instance.
Not sure if electronic use is the culprit for your poor sleep habits? You can always track your sleep using the Sleep Cycle App for a few weeks, both with and without the use of the f.lux app. If you can’t tell a difference simply by how you feel, the Sleep Cycle App will provide my concrete data for comparison.
The Streamlined Office can help you put more efficient systems and processes in place to improve your office productivity. We offer a wide variety of services, from traditional organizing to ergonomic assessments and the use of technology. Contact us today for a FREE Consultation at 480-221-0588.