Wellbeing In a Digital World

Performance@Work: Why Sleep Matters
How To Re-Energize During Your Day

In the digital world today, there is an abundance of information available to us. We find ourselves in a position where we need to be constantly ‘connected’. 

The downside is that there is an abundance of artificial light emitting from blue-light electronic devices, screens and LED bulbs, whether they are from televisions, computers, mobile phones or other devices. At night, these devices fool our bodies into thinking that it is daytime due to their light, and therefore, leave our body’s circadian rhythm confused. 

When our bodies are exposed to these artificial sources of light at night, they can trigger an ongoing stress response in the brain. This results in the body releasing stress hormones and when these hormones are high, our sleep hormone melatonin remains low. This is because melanopsin — a photopigment found in specialised cells of the retina involved in the regulation of circadian rhythms — is most sensitive to blue light.

Melatonin is not only a sleep hormone but also has potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. It is also highly protective against the formation of cancer cells. With this in mind, making sleep a priority and taking steps to minimise our artificial light exposure after dark can help to give our bodies a greater chance of efficient melatonin production.

In addition, disrupted sleep from blue-light emitting devices can potentially lead to weight gain, blood sugar problems, higher chance of depression and anxiety, premature ageing, and heart problems.

In terms of focus and concentration, the areas of your brain that are critical to thinking receive less blood flow. Sleepiness slows down your thought processes. You can power through your tiredness the next day when you need to, but it will only be at a reduced level of functioning.

What To Do:

  • Get your bedroom as dark as possible
  • Remove all devices (especially ones receiving signals), and electronics from your bedroom. If you have a big TV, unplug it
  • If you have streetlights that create too much light, use blackout curtains to cover windows
  • Avoid computers, phone screens and TV for at least an hour before you go to bed
Allow time for adequate rest to recharge, repair and re-energise your body, not only will your whole body function better, so will your brain; enabling you to make better decisions, come up with creative ideas, have sharper and clearer memory, be nicer to people, and look and feel like your best self.

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