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Not Sleeping Well? Blame Your Smartphone

Dan Tynan
Tech Columnist
Yahoo Tech
March 6, 2014

Not Sleeping Well? Blame Your Smartphone

Dan Tynan
Tech Columnist
Yahoo Tech
March 6, 2014

It’s not your bratty kids, pointy-headed boss or money woes keeping you up at night; it’s your technology.

According to a survey by Jawbone, makers of the UP physical fitness tracker, people who use their laptops and smartphones in bed spend less time sleeping than those who don’t — and that’s having a negative impact on our productivity and overall well-being.

In addition to logging physical activity, UP wristbands can measure when a person is sleeping soundly, lightly or not at all. Jawbone analyzed input from 1,600 UP wearers over 5,000 nights, surveyed them about their habits, and then crunched the data to arrive at some eye-opening conclusions.

Snooze you can use
One in four UP wearers reported difficulty falling asleep, largely due to stress. On average, those who keep a laptop in their bedrooms slept soundly for 37 fewer minutes than their less-wired brethren. Smartphone users logged 13 fewer minutes in slumberland.

Jawbone found that people who slept for at least seven hours each night were 30 percent more likely to feel optimistic, focused and attractive the next day, not to mention more annoying to their groggy co-workers.

Bottom line: Our tech obsessions are making us cranky and less productive. And it’s not limited to adults. A separate, unrelated survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that technology is also to blame for keeping our kids from logging the optimal number of Z’s.

Three out of four children have electronics in their bedrooms, according to the survey. Those who go to bed with their devices turned on get half an hour less sleep on average than those who don’t, say researchers. That’s likely due to the bright lights of backlit screens, which can stimulate brain activity and suppress production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

There’s a nap for that
In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, Jawbone plans to release an update to its iOS app that allows UP wearers to better analyze how their physical activity relates to their sleep patterns. Like Ovuline with its Ovia Fertility app, Jawbone is one of a growing number of companies using big data to help its customers make more informed choices about their health.

The company is also releasing UP Coffee, a free iOS 7 app you can use to gauge how your caffeine intake is bollixing your beauty rest.

Is a cup of tea after dinner a good idea? How much sleep do you sacrifice for every 100 mg of caffeine you ingest? UP Coffee may give you the answer. And if it doesn’t, that will give you something else to ponder as you toss and turn at night. 

Questions, complaints, kudos? Email Dan Tynan at ModFamily1@yahoo.com

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