June 23, 2022

Excessive smartphone use at night causing 2 hour ‘jet lag’ | Ahmedabad News

Ahmedabad: What can a smartphone taken to bed do to you? It can steal your sleep, claims a recent study based in Ahmedabad. Like jet lag, the company of a telephone during the night hours makes young people insomniac with an average of two hours of disturbed sleep.
The researchers also claimed that 60% of respondents indicated their maximum smartphone usage during the night or just before falling asleep, disrupting their natural circadian rhythm. A total of 47% of boys said they slept less than 7 hours on working days and 38% said they tried to balance it out by sleeping more than 9 hours on free days.
The study, “Assessment of Smartphone Use as a Predictor of Social Jet Lag Among University Students,” involved 1,175 college students in Ahmedabad. He sought answers about their normal waking and sleeping times, the difference between these times during work days and rest days, phone exposure and peak exposure times, among others.
The article went into preprint in the journal Annals of Indian Psychiatry. The authors included Karan Mehta, Neeraj Mahajan, Dishant Upadhyay and Taxashil Jadeja from the Department of Physiology at NHL Municipal Medical College and Rajkumar Sevak from the US-based University of the Pacific.
Dr Upadhyay said every part of the body follows a clock – identified as a circadian rhythm.
“As the cycle of the liver depends on the timing of food consumption, the cycle of the hypothalamus in our brain depends on the exposure to light. It cannot tell the difference between natural and artificial light. Thus, we may have experienced the phenomenon that we may have trouble falling asleep immediately after prolonged exposure to the phone,” he said.
He added that although there are other factors such as working hours, digital devices including computers and televisions, the nature of work and social activity among others, the telephone appeared as the main contributor to jet lag. “45% of boys and 33% of girls in the study were found to be addicted to smartphones due to their use,” Dr Upadhyay said.
Dr. Mehta said it was not just about sleep, but deep sleep as well. “The phenomenon of social jet lag is the sleep deficit due to unnatural causes – and it can be measured using standard statistical tools. But in general parlance, we can figure it out by comparing our normal daytime sleep with vacation sleep where we often sleep for hours on end. We found in our study that the majority of respondents experienced jet deprivation/lag with an average as high as two hours,” he said.
He said to compensate, many turned out to be “night-shifters” by sleeping late and sleeping during the day. “We also found that many had the impulse to check the phone immediately after waking up or just before going to sleep, which is consistent with signs of addiction,” he said.
City experts agree with the findings and added that the lockdown and pandemic period has compounded the problem on several occasions. Dr. Arvind Sharma, a city neurologist and secretary of the Indian Stroke Association (ISA), said deep sleep (non-rapid eye movements) is necessary to heal the body.
“The number of people unable to sleep has increased over the past two years. One of the factors is the use of smartphones. Many tend to check it in dark rooms – it affects the quality of sleep and makes it difficult for the brain to rest. We also found the impact of excessive phone use on impaired memory, aggression and fatigue,” said Dr Sharma.


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