18, July 2011
I’m the first to admit, if I wake up in the middle of the night and roll over, I almost always pick up my cell phone and quick scan my texts and emails. I’m not quite sure what I think I could possibly be missing at 4 am – other than maybe a nonsensical text about deep fried pickles from my drunken friend or a chain-letter email from my aunt alerting me to my forthcoming ownership of an unclaimed diamond mine in Nigeria – and yet, I still feel compelled to look. In all fairness, if aliens landed on earth and someone chose to warn me via text in the middle of the night, I’d almost definitely get the message….and I can sleep easy knowing that.
Or not. Apparently, sleeping with technology is not always easy. Modern day technology has invaded every corner of our lives, including our bedrooms. It is no surprise that cell phones, video games and laptops are leading to less sleep. In fact, besides the physical distraction, experts at Harvard Medical School claim that exposure to artificial light before going to bed (aka playing video games, texting, using a computer) can increase alertness and suppress the release of melatonin.
Bedrooms weren’t always a communication hub – but they weren’t just for sleeping either. In the 19th century, mothers gave birth in their own bedrooms, and on the other end of the spectrum, most people died in their own beds as well. The 19th century bedroom also served as a bathroom. Most had washstands that held a water pitcher, a basin and a washcloth. At night or in cold weather when getting to the outhouse was too difficult, every bed had a chamber pot underneath.
It would seem though, with the advent of convenient perks such as indoor plumbing and hospitals, we would have learned to appreciate the simple sanctity of our bedrooms – as a place for sleeping. But our never ending quest to keep pace with everything going on around us (and to stay on high alert for alien invasions) seems to be getting the best of us.
If you are one of millions of American’s struggling to sleep, here are ten simple sleep tips
from medical professionals…but only if you PROMISE not to watch them on your laptop at night in your bedroom....