Welcome to Our Healing Roots, a blog exploring natural medicine that returns us to the roots of health and wellbeing. Our Healing Roots, LLC, is a private natural healthcare practice and experiential learning center that advocates the safe use of integrated, natural medicine. Many healing ways have gone by the wayside with the advent of conventional medicine. While it is important to receive professional medical advice for serious conditions, there are many things we can do at home to prevent disease and maintain our health. The Latin word for doctor is docere, which means to be a teacher. Our Healing Roots wholehearted embraces the importance of teaching in healthcare, so that people feel empowered about their health and wellbeing. More information about this business can be found at www.ourhealingroots.net.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Technology’s Influence on Our Sleep



 
It’s alluring to check e-mail just one last time before bed or to turn on the television to wind down. You might be assured by your child that they have to make it to the next level of their video game before they’ll be able to sleep. A teenager might feel compelled text their friends and romantic interests late into the night. Technology such as the internet, cell phones, and other electronic communications have brought many benefits to us, but they also have the potential to disrupt sleep especially when used before bedtime.  

In a 2011 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 95% of respondents used some form of electronics at least a few nights a week within an hour before bed. More than half of 13-18 year olds reported surfing the internet before bed. Most of these technologies are stimulating and the artificial light can suppress our body’s sleep-promoting messengers, such as melatonin (1).

Our bodies are very sensitive to light. For centuries, we have risen and gone to bed with the sun. Our neurological and endocrine pathways are based on this system of light and dark.  That is hardly the reality of today. Many of us have light long after the sun has gone down thanks to artificial light, and it can have damaging effects on our sleep.

Sleep is vitally important for concentration, learning, attention and memory. Take attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for example. A 2009 study published in Sleep Medicine, looked at 55 children diagnosed with ADHD. This study found a significant correlation between ADHD and sleep disorders, such as motor restlessness, sleep walking, night terrors, confusional arrousals, snoring and restless leg syndrome (2). Sleep and attention are significantly related to one another.

Whether you are still in school or not, consider preparing for this next academic year by shutting off the technology an hour before bed. Allow yourself to wind down by lower lights, enjoying a bath or shower, reading a non-stimulating book, meditating or praying, or doing a non-technological relaxing activity. Resist the urge to work or study right up until bedtime. You are worthy of the rest. 

(1) http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use-

(2). Silvestri, et al.Sleep disorders in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) recorded overnight by video-polysomnography.” Sleep Med. 2009 Dec;10(10):1132-8).

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