Not sleeping properly? Who should blame technology for those restless nights

Tori Floyd

If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, there's a good chance that the smartphone in your hand or the TV working in the background are partially to blame.

Steps to creating a positive sleep environment, according to Canadian Living, include getting rid of anything that detracts from making the bedroom a place of sleep and intimacy; getting rid of all lights in the room; and eliminating any distracting noises. Unfortunately, tech devices can cause all of these distractions interrupting our sleep — but that doesn't stop many Canadians from checking their phones right before bed, or watching TV before turning in for the night.

Take Part, a U.S. website focused on promoting awareness about certain social issues, has created an infographic to help explain just how different technology is impacting the sleep of people from every generation. While it uses American data from the annual Sleep in America poll, it still provides a good guideline as to who is most likely to sacrifice sleep for staying connected:


According to Dr. Margaret Rajda of the Sleep Disorders Clinic at QE2 Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, the number of Canadians who aren't getting good sleep can be directly attributed to those of us who use technology before bed.

"I blame it on artificial light which allows us to do a lot of things such as watch television, or play on the computer or even do more work," Rajda told the CBC.

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According to a 2011 poll (PDF link) in the same CBC story, nearly 58 per cent of Canadians say they often feel tired, and almost the same number get less than the recommended amount of sleep every night. Television watching, not having enough time, and wishing to spend time with friends and family were the most common reasons that Canadian youth surveyed gave for not getting sleep. This indicates that the habits found in the Sleep in America survey are likely quite similar to Canadian habits, too.

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