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Time Spent With Devices Exceeds Time Spent On Sleep

There’s word rom the latest Ofcom report, and the news is not good. According to the results of a survey done in the United Kingdom, the average adult there spends eight hours and forty-one minutes paying attention to their electronic devices, whether that means indulging in social media, reading work-related communications, or perusing digital media. Compare this measure to the amount of time that is spent on sleep and you see the dilemma — sleep is accounting for just eight hours and 21 minutes per day, and experts say that the figure spent on sleep is probably an overstatement.

Broken down into data that is easily understood, this means that we are spending over half of our waking hours on texting, gaming, listening or watching on our electronic devices, and sleep is being lowered on our list of priorities to a point where we simply aren’t getting enough of it. More importantly, the time spent on electronic devices may actually be impacting the quality of our sleep time, so that even if we think that we’re asleep, our brains and bodies may not be getting the quality rest that we need.

Our love for technology seems to be endless, and sleep is apparently the thing that we are most willing to sacrifice in order to accommodate our desire to spend more time with our smart phones and tablets. The fact that we wake up the next day feeling exhausted and unproductive does not seem to translate into the realization that we need to cut back on our tech time and spend more time between the sheets.

There have been a number of scientific studies that have examined the amount of sleep that we get and how it has changed over the last several decades. We are sleeping on average one to two hours less per night than we did sixty years ago, and technology is to blame for a large percentage of that time. It seems like it is right when we are ready to go to bed that we make the decision to check our work email or the latest news one last time, and that quick check morphs into another hour spent staring at the blue light that in turn tricks our brain into thinking that it is daytime and time to be awake. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that senior managers tend to work late hours and send emails out to their staff late at night, creating a ripple effect of sleep deprivation and sleep becoming a low priority throughout an organization. Research has shown that 72% of senior managers engage in this practice on occasion and almost half do it on a nightly basis.

Though the Ofcom Communications Market Report is conducted in the United Kingdom, it is not too far a stretch to assume that the numbers reflected in the report will also apply here in the United States. As more and more people take their smart phones and tablets to bed, sleep will suffer further, and so will productivity and well being.

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