Tag Archives: sleep-pattern

Is Your iPad Keeping You Awake?

J.D. Moyer is a sleep-deprived native of California. He had read somewhere that strong light – including that coming from an electronic device screen – can reset your internal sleep clock. He decided to conduct an experiment based on that information, and was surprised at the results. For an entire month, he turned off every light in his home at sunset… even his laptop and the bulb inside of his fridge. Instead of falling asleep close to midnight every night, he started crashing out before 9 PM. He felt extremely well-rested during the day and had a lot more energy.

Consumer electronics are being used right up until bedtime these days… and even while we’re already tucked IN bed. I know many people who take their iPads to bed with them. They may be reading a book or catching up on their favorite television shows. However, this could be interfering with their ability to fall asleep and become fully rested and recharged.

“Potentially, yes, if you’re using [the iPad or a laptop] close to bedtime … that light can be sufficiently stimulating to the brain to make it more awake and delay your ability to sleep,” said Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school’s Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology. “And I think more importantly, it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up.”

Light from a laptop, iPad or other device is usually held close to the body and the light is shining directly into your eyes. This doesn’t happen as much with the soft glow from a reading lamp or a television broadcasting from the other side of your room. You would likely fall asleep much easier if you were to curl up with an actual book than you do when you download something to do on your iPad.

When receptors in our eyes are hit with bright light for an extended period of time, they send a message to the brain saying it’s time to be awake. The brain, in turn, stops secreting a hormone called melatonin, which makes people sleepy and helps regulate the internal sleep clock. Normally, our brains start giving us that hormonal sleep aid at about 9 or 10 p.m. But if bright lights are shining in our eyes, that may not happen as planned.

You may think that six or seven hours of sleep is sufficient. After all, we have a lot to get done. There aren’t enough hours in a day to do everything as it is. However, research proves that if you are well-rested (think 8-9 hours of sleep), you’ll have more energy and be more productive. This can translate into getting more accomplished in a fewer number of hours. I don’t know about you, but if I’m tired and draggy I spend a lot of my “working” time staring into space or messing around on time-wasting tasks. When I feel awake and energized, I focus on what needs to be done and crank out the tasks.

How do you fall asleep? Do you take a laptop, iPad or other device to bed with you? Are you on the computer right up until it’s time to roll into the sack? Most importantly – do you feel rested in the mornings?

Understanding Your Dreams Can Help You Solve Problems

There have been times I have woken up in the morning and remembered whatever I had been dreaming about, only to wish I had forgotten. I’m sure all of you have been there before. This is why there are so many books, websites and people dedicated to helping interpret what our dreams really mean. Did you know, though, that your dreams can tell a lot about your current state of mind or even your mood?

Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett says that dreams are “an extremely rich source of practical advice, and other alternatives about what we’re doing in our lives. They’re just coming from such a different part of ourselves that they’re a very good supplement to our waking, rational thinking.” Deirdre has written two books on the subject: The Committee of Sleep and Trauma and Dreams.

Your dreams can tell you a lot if you know where to look. Experts say that a dream about taking an exam in school and failing it (even as an adult who isn’t in school) can signify anxiety about being judged, or of being in a situation you don’t know how to handle. People also commonly have dreams in which they are naked in public, associated with feeling exposed or ashamed. This could signal that the dreamer feels socially inadequate in some way.

Dr. Judith Orloff is the assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California in Los Angeles. Dr. Orloff says that nightmares can shed light into the dark areas of people’s lives. Dreams can confront you with whatever you’re afraid of the most. You can also use them to work through underlying problems that you may not even be aware of. She had “one patient who repeatedly dreamed she was being chased on a cliff by an “evil pursuer” who was going to hurt her. The patient and psychologist figured out that the pursuer represented the woman’s abusive father. After working through it, the nightmare did not repeat.”

Some experts suggest that if you’re facing a difficult decision in your life you should ask yourself questions about it just prior to falling asleep. This may help you dream about the situation and possible outcomes. There are many documented cases where people have gotten help they desperately needed after recalling a dream. One physician had such an experience. He had been trying to quit smoking, but could not. He dreamed one night that he had coughed up pink sputum, which is indicative of cancer. When he woke up the next morning, he was so devastated by the mere thought of this particular outcome that he never touched another cigarette in his life.

Don’t stress yourself out if you cannot remember your dreams: few people ever do. Many will swear that they don’t dream at all. Dreams are often hard to remember, the things in them can have many different meanings. Trust your thought process when you’re awake, but don’t ignore the ones that go on inside your pretty little head when you’re asleep. Listen to that intuitive side whenever possible.

When Do They Sleep?

While it might be interesting to figure out when your Twitter contacts manage to sleep, I have a feeling the poor application isn’t going to work properly with friends on my lists. It’s a known fact that Geeks don’t really sleep. We tend to zone out in front of the screen for a few moments, then resume our normal level of productivity.

The application is supposed to be simple to use. All you need to do is enter the username of a person on Twitter. The algorithm will then determine the person’s approximate sleeping schedule based on periods of activity. To get an idea of what you’ll learn, the site has already compiled a list of sleeping patterns of Bollywood Celebrities and Tech Superstars, including me!

I have already found one major flaw. The findings claim that I am more likely to sleep between 1am and 7am (or 6 hours). I know darn well I’m never in bed that early unless I have somewhere to be the next morning. In addition… I guarantee I’m not up that ungodly early unless there is something important happening. I’m not a morning person!

It’s still interesting to see the results by using this little experiment. When do you sleep? Is the site close to correct?