Technology isn’t always fun cases and cool new apps. It’s how we are living our lives in the 21st century. And while all our gadgets and gizmos make our day-to-day existence a bit easier, researchers are also realizing that these things are having a physical impact on our bodies and minds.
Here are two new items that caught my attention last week:
Reading On Your Tablet At Night Could Be Disrupting Your Sleep
On a personal note, I have horrible insomnia and have for years. I’m going to go way back and blame it on living in a house with a ghost and seeing the Blair Witch Project. Whatever the reason, my brain decides to go a mile-a-minute right around 11 PM. Over the years I’ve helped this by reading myself to sleep. Concentrating on someone else’s story helps keep me out of my head and fall asleep quicker; But it also keeps my husband awake with the bedside light on. My fix? Reading my iPad at night! I turn off the lights, crawl into bed and have my tablet take me away to a far off land or entrench me in a cheesy romance novel. But is this actually doing more harm than good?
According to Scientific American and Mariana Figueiro of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, two hours of iPad use at maximum brightness was enough to suppress people’s normal nighttime release of melatonin, a key hormone in the body’s clock, or circadian system. Melatonin tells your body that it is night, helping to make you sleepy. If you delay that signal, Figueiro says, you could delay sleep. Other research indicates that “if you do that chronically, for many years, it can lead to disruption of the circadian system,” sometimes with serious health consequences, she explains.
(you can read the rest of the article here)
Social Media May Be Making You Depressed
Another downer of an article (pun intended) that came out last week is throwing out the theory that active use of social media may be making us all depressed. As someone who finds herself starting sentences with “Did you see that post/tweet?!” I can honestly believe this one.
According to an article published last week on Refinery 29 , every time you post something and get a positive comment, your body releases dopamine – that “feel good” hormone. Sounds ok to me, but the issue lays in it becoming a bit of an addiction – addicted to “the rush of the comment.” And if life isn’t really as good as it looks online, this can lead to you becoming depressed IRL.
“The life we possess virtually can seem more exciting or interesting than what’s happening in real life and real time,” says Sheri Meyers, PsyD, a therapist in Los Angeles (and author of Chatting or Cheating). “Online, you’re constantly on the receiving end of a sense of approval, which feels really good. What isn’t healthy is when you turn more and more to your cyber friends for approval, satisfaction, and that dopamine hit. Then, you stop trying to connect and relate with the people closest to you.”
(read the rest of the article on Refinery29 HERE)
So what do you think about these findings? Do you feel highs/lows from Social Media? Do you read your tablet at night? Would love your thoughts!