What to do when your sleep is disturbed by technology – Feel good

They call it tech sleep. It is the modern habit of sleeping with background noises and lights. That is, with the mobile phone, tablet or TV on. A kind of risky lullaby, a sleep disrupted by technology, which creates a real form of addictionso much so that it becomes difficult to fall asleep in the absence of these situations.

The brain remains alert

“A lot of people keep their cell phones by the bed and don’t turn them off,” he explains. Vincenza Castronovopsychologist and psychotherapist at the Sleep Medicine Center of San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

“The sounds that signal the arrival of a message, an email, a post on a social network keep the brain in a state of alertness and create micro-oscillations called CAP, an acronym for circular alternating pattern. The sleep becomes unstable».

The function of CAPs should be to act as a bridge between the different phases of sleep, protecting the continuity of good quality rest. In case of external noise or light sources, CAPs lose their normal function and become simple disruptive micro-awakenings. And if sleep becomes less than restful, daytime consequences such as memory lapses, irritability, and fatigue can occur.

How to get out of the vicious circle

“A vicious circle is created for those who can no longer live without light and noise. The brain develops the conditioning and registers it as positive, since lights and noises have become “useful” for sleepexplains Dr. Castronovo.

“So it is necessary to reverse the situation. Some people do it on their own by adopting the rules of good sleep. For others, a specialist visit at a sleep center is necessary to begin a cycle of sessions cognitive behavioral therapy».

The rules of good sleep

Some specific techniques to combat technology sleep are taught individually, but everyone should start from these rules:

  • Choose a bedtime ritual to unwind. For example, drinking milk, reading a book.
  • Always go to bed and wake up at the same time.
  • Get up when you can’t sleep. Do something pleasant and go back to bed only when sleep returns.
  • Do not engage in physical activity after dinner: sports performed 4 hours before going to bed disturb sleep. The same applies to mental activities that are very demanding.
  • Don’t try to catch up on naps throughout the day.
  • Do not use the bedroom for work.
  • Avoid stimulants like coffee, tea and chocolate from 4pm onwards.
  • Do not smoke (at least at night) as nicotine is a stimulant.
  • Avoid falling asleep in front of the TV at night.
  • In the bedroom, keep the temperature cool and the room dark and quiet.

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