With its sleek looks, amazing intelligence and ability to go all night, a new class of digital snuggle buddies is giving the traditional bed partner a run for their money. Laptops, cell phones, iPads – personal electronics have an extra dose of around-the-clock functionality that makes them hard to resist. But does this really make for the perfect relationship? In the areas of physical and psychological awareness, health experts say not quite.
Too Many Junk Searches Equal Junk Sleep
Social media consumers’ long-running relationship with personal electronics is on the rocks. And as they continue to sacrifice sleep for extra hours online, their physical health is feeling the affects.
According to research by the American Sleep Association, close to 95 percent of Internet users polled, surf the Web in the hour before trying to sleep. Many admit to using these devices in the middle of the night. Besides the focus of the sleep-technology connection, the poll also found that many Americans are not happy with their quality of sleep.
Surf less, sleep more. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, while in the grand scheme of things a 3 am Facebook update or meaningless tweet (my apologies, missing any tweet is social suicide) hardly matters, for many, wireless devices are a necessity at all times. Reality testing is lost, as consequences on any physical or psychological level are dissociated from the sealed-off zone of cyberspace opportunity.
On one level, experts rank artificial light as the primary catalyst for this health concern. The light given off by these devices negatively fluctuates many of the body’s natural hormones including melatonin, used to induce sleep. As blue light-emanating devices invade our bedrooms, one naturally feels the tendency to stay awake and alert. Leaving the feelings of exhaustion and fatigue for the morning.
Online Conversation no Substitute for Face-to Face
At the other end of the health spectrum lie the psychological, social effects of having a digital bed buddy. Despite the fact that most people have the ability and means to socialize in real life, their social skills are nothing compared to their online prowess. System administrators are their world, online chats their pillow talk. Like any bad relationship, succumbing to technology becomes easier to accept and harder to leave over time.
No plans for the evening? Why not snuggle up with the computer to pass the time. With all the social opportunities online, many forget there are meaningful relationships waiting to be developed or nurtured in real life. While this balance between real and online socializing is manageable, it can also go too far. However comforting the warm blanket of a computer screen might be, it will never be an equal substitute for the real deal.
Even those most reliant on technology have concerns about never ending workdays and interrupted personal relationships. An emotional love affair with your digital device is nice, granted. But it can never heed the satisfaction of a good night’s sleep or passionate feelings of a real relationship. Don’t let your technological umbilical cord keep you from reaching a well-rounded and happy life. Reaffirm the boundaries between the office and the bedroom.
This was a guest post by Frank Anderson, who is a social media blogger and Web designer for all things Internet and technology. Frank also works with the web hosting forum keeping the public up-to-date and active regarding social issues.