Can’t sleep? The answer could be ’30 minutes’

A growing number of scientific studies show that light from computer screens stimulates the eyes and the brain, leading to increased alertness.

According to the Roxby Community Health Partnership (Time for Wellbeing), turning off your screen, whether it’s your computer, mobile, kindle, video game or the TV at least 30 minutes before bedtime gives our brain a chance to relax.

“Decreased sleep is linked to increased weight gain, sensitivity to pain, and impacts appetite regulation and immune function. There’s also some evidence that it may increase the severity of age-related chronic disorders such as diabetes. Fatigue associated with shift work can slow down thinking time, reaction time and increase the chance of mistakes, which can present an extra safety risk at work.” says Dr Simon Lockwood (Roxby Downs Family Practice).

Good sleep helps the body regenerate. It helps protect us from developing diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and it’s good for the mind, too. We’re more focused and aware, decisions are easier, our memory is better, we’re more creative. It helps us be more productive too, so we get better results at work and our kids do better at school.

Of course, computer screens are not the only culprit — poor sleep could be due to a number of reasons such as illness, medications, stress, or something as simple as smoking, drinking, or having a coffee too late in the day.

Shift workers have the added challenges of trying to sleep during the day and their body clock having to constantly adjust. Ear plugs and an eye mask and sleeping (or napping) just before going to work could be helpful.

If you or a member of your family is having difficulty sleeping, consult your doctor. Sleep studies are available through local GP practices in Roxby Downs. For more information visit SA Health’s ‘Healthy Living’ page http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/ and the Sleep Health Foundation https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/.

For community wellbeing resources visit Angela Lafferty at the Partnership Hub in Richardson Place.

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