Poll suggests its time to unplug

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ARLINGTON, Va. - If you're the type of person who likes to sleep cuddled up to your iPhone, you should know it could be keeping you awake at night, says a new poll.

This year's Sleep in America Poll, conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, focuses on technology use and sleep. About 95% of poll respondents said they used some type of electronic device, like a TV, computer, cell phone or video game, in the hour before bed.

"My research compares how technologies that are 'passively received' such as TVs and music versus those with 'interactive' properties like video games, cell phones and the Internet may affect the brain differently," stated Michael Gradisar, Ph.D, Flinders University (Australia), in a press release. "The hypothesis is that the latter devices are more alerting and disrupt the sleep-onset process."

The study divided people into four age groups: baby boomers (ages 46 to 64), generation X'ers (ages 30 to 45), generation Y'ers (ages 19 to 29) and generation Z'ers (ages 13 to 18).

Not surprisingly, there are generation gaps when it comes to the technologies used, says the poll.

Cell phones

Texting and talking on the phone show the most significant age gap. More than half of Z'ers (56%) and nearly half of Y'ers (42%) say they send, read or receive text messages every night or almost every night in the hour before bed compared to 15% of X'ers and a mere 5% of baby boomers. 


Baby boomers (67%) watch the most TV, while Y'ers (49%) watch the least. 


About 61% of respondents use a computer at least a few times a week, and more than half of Z'ers (55%) surf the web almost every night before bed.