Sleep Disruption and Screen Time

Sleep Disruption – The Science of Light

Do you use a phone, tablet, computer or watch TV right before bed? Recent research helps explain exactly what is happening in our eyes and brains, and why ‘screen time’ can disrupt our sleep.

Scientists have recently linked specific cells in our eyes, and how they process light and how that, affects our circadian rhythms. When our bodies biological clocks are thrown off, it can result in sleep deprivation.

We’ve all read about the scary things that can come from sleep disruption. Increased risk of obesity, cognitive decline, increased risk of cancer and many more undesirable things.

A couple of scientists at the Salk InstituteLudovic Mure and Satchin Panda – have studied exactly what happens when artificial light hits our retinas.

A protein called Melanopsin regulates our biological clock after about 10 minutes of exposure to bright light. It tells our bodies to suppress the production of Melatonin.

Most people know about Melatonin, and its important role in regulating sleep.

When our eyes are exposed to artificial light, our internal clocks get confused.

The Technical Stuff

“Conventional wisdom has held that proteins called arrestins, which stop the activity of certain receptors, should halt cells’ photosensitive response within seconds of lights coming on.

The researchers were surprised to find that arrestins are in fact necessary for melanopsin to continue responding to prolonged illumination.

In mice lacking either version of the arrestin protein (beta arrestin 1 and beta arrestin 2), the melanopsin-producing retinal cells failed to sustain their sensitivity to light under prolonged illumination.

The reason, it turns out, is that arrestin helps melanopsin regenerate in the retinal cells.” (read the article in full here)

That’s a mouthful. Honestly, we’re not even sure exactly what it means. So, caveat emptor.

sleep disruption

Other Causes of Sleep Disruption

There are many other causes of sleep disruption. In no particular order, perhaps you recognize a few of these?

Of course, it would be ridiculous of us to post, without a somewhat shameless plug for our fantastic Fawcett Mattresses. Sleep deprived? Sleep disturbed? Often it can be related to the comfort of your Mattress! Or Discomfort, as the case may be….

For the the most plush mattress, check out our Model 9. Are you more of a minimalist and like a med-firm model? The value priced Model 6 could work for you.


Better Quality Sleep – A Low Tech Way


Many people try and solve life’s challenges with gadgets. There are diet calculators. There are fitbits to help us understand how much sleep and exercise we’re getting. What about a low tech method to help us get more and better quality sleep?

We’re sure there’s an “app for that”….but we’re not going there. (at least not in this post!)

A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that 59% of sixth- through eighth-graders and 87% of high school students in the United States were getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep on school nights. Worse, more than 70% of parents believed their children were getting sufficient sleep.

sleeping teen - better quality sleep

Sleep Deprivation & Effect on Adolescents

Dr Adriana Galván of the University of California, Los Angeles conducts research in her developmental neuroscience lab about sleep deprivation and the effects it has on people.

During Dr Galván’s research, she came across an interesting and unexpected finding. Most of us probably think that the total number of hours that adolescents get was important for proper brain development.

However, the results surprised even Dr Galván and her colleagues.

Consistency was the key. For those kids whose sleep varied by as much as 2.5 hours from one night to another, they showed less development of white matter connections. White matter connections are important to help connect the various regions of the brain, and to process information efficiently.

Low Tech

Next, the Dr and her team conducted sleep related experiments on a sample of 55 adolescents aged 14 – 18 years old. It turns out, that “pillow comfort” and to a lesser degree – “satisfaction with their bedding”,  was uniquely related to better quality sleep – more than age, sex or income levels. 

It turns out, these environmental factors seem to be an important influencer to ensure proper sleep for adolescents.

So, turn the devices off. Get them to read book. Yes, really, a book.

Invest in some quality sheets & bedding, and perhaps a high quality natural latex pillow. (we LOVE ours and take them travelling with us – on car trips at least).

It’s probably less important for a child or youth to have the luxurious Fawcett Model 9 mattress to achieve high quality sleep.

As we age, our shoulders and bodies seem to be a little more “needy”. A good option? Our 4 year old boy sleeps on a Fawcett Model 6 mattress and is a great sleeper. Now we’re going to add a latex pillow.


Is your Bedroom a Social Media Free Zone?

Is your Bedroom a Social Media Free Zone? In 2017 Facebook surpassed the 2 Billion monthly active users number – with over 63% of North Americans using the service each month.

So, the chances are, that you use Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter or some other Social Media service.

Or maybe you use all of them!? These services have real quantifiable positive impacts when properly applied to business growth or other similar endeavors such as non-profit fundraising & awareness.

Is your Bedroom a Social Media & Free Zone 2


More controversial, is Social Media’s positive, or negative impact on our personal lives. I like to take a bipartisan approach here. Social media is both good and bad.

We would probably be less connected to our friends overseas, in Japan, Europe and Australia – without Social Media.

We also keep in touch with people we have met only once or twice – are not close friends due to geography – but are connected to on Social media.

But more and more people are becoming what we could call “Social Media Addicted”. There’s no clinical diagnosis for this “condition”, however, most of us know what it looks like.

Have you ever felt ‘anxious’  because you forgot your phone? There’s now a term for that feeling of anxiety when you are ‘sans-phone’ – it’s called Nomophobia. Remarkably, “a study, sampled 2,163 people, found that about 58% of men and 47% of women suffer from the phobia”

Some of the physical and emotional symptoms reported were:


  • anxiety
  • respiratory alterations
  • trembling
  • perspiration
  • agitation
  • disorientation
  • tachycardia

Emotional symptoms

  • depression
  • panic
  • fear
  • dependence
  • rejection
  • low self-esteem
  • loneliness

A recent report by Canadian researchers (go Canada!) found that just ONE HOUR of Social Media use can derail proper sleep.

The report found;

‘Importantly, significant associations were found when social media use exceeded one hour per day, suggesting that even this level of social media may be negatively associated with sleep duration.

‘Although females spent significantly more time using social media than males, the relationship between the use of social media and sleep duration did not differ by sex.

So we know that using social media, even in the day time may affect sleep habits. How about if you’re using your phone in bed at night? Is your Bedroom a Social Media Free Zone?

Researchers think that the blue-white light emitted by mobile phones prevents our brains from releasing melatonin. We need this hormone to sleep properly. Generally the research points to eliminating computer, tablet or mobile phone usage about an hour before bedtime. Here are three lessons learned from what happens when we do just that.

So, you may have an awesome, comfortable Fawcett Mattress. But if you’re using your phone, tablet or too much computer use close to bedtime, then you’re probably shooting yourself in the proverbial foot. We’re guilty here too, so don’t feel bad. Most of us are!

Personally I’m going to resolve to reading before sleep. And yes, from one of those old fashioned paper things. Not the phone. 😉


Why Is Sleep Important to Growing Children?

Is sleep important to growing children?Is sleep important to growing children? We recently came across a fantastic article about the effect sleep on children, and their development. The article was featured in the Positive Health Wellness Blog – which focuses on articles about diet and nutrition, recipes, fitness, beauty and aging and more. The highlights are below.

Studies have demonstrated that children who don’t receive the proper amount of sleep have many problems, such as controlling their emotions. Others act out in naughty ways because their brains need the rest. They take risks, and as they get older, they can have problems with depression and anxiety.

Sleep is related to healthy growth.
Proper sleep has been linked to Studies have shown that those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be obese. This is the case for both children and adults. One study specifically looked at teenagers, who got one less hour of sleep than average. They were more likely to become obese than their regular sleeping counterparts.

Fighting Infections
During sleep, children produce cytokines, a type of protein. The body needs this to be able to fight off illnesses and infections. The proteins are produced more during illnesses to help promote sleep and encourage anyone to sleep more to fight off the illness. There is a cycle that Mother Nature has created to ensure our bodies fight off infections as much as possible instead of succumbing to them.

How Much Sleep do Children Need?
Newborns will need between 16 and 18 hours of sleep a day. This isn’t going to be in one sitting. Some will sleep through the night for 12 hours without a problem and then need a few one-hour naps throughout the day. Others will have four-hour naps with periods of awake on a regular basis.

As babies reach the three-monthstage, they need around 11-15 hours of sleep daily. Between four months and a year, that time drops to between 9 and 12 hours, and most will sleep through the night and just need a few naps throughout the day.

Toddlers and preschoolers do a lot of running around and growing. They will sleep between 11 and 14 hours a day, usually in one sitting throughout the night. Between the ages of 6 and 13, children need somewhere between 9 and 11 hours of sleep, and usually not with a nap in the day. They may have a nap if they are ill.

So is sleep important to growing children? We’ll say an unequivocal yes! All in all we found this article very interesting. We know sleep is important, but it often seems neglected. We make sure our kids eat properly, that they are safe but sometimes we may overlook the role that sleep plays in their health, well being and long term development! With that, we’re going to take a nap. With our kids.

What mattress to look at? We have our 3.5 year old sleeping on a Fawcett Model 6. He loves it, and so do we. Younger children? How about the Model C(rib)

Children’s Sleep and Stress

As adults, we’re (sometimes acutely) aware that stress can cause a lack of sleep for us. But what about our children? Do they actually lose sleep from worrying about things?

Unfortunately, lack of sleep due to stress isn’t exclusive to adults. 20% of kids aged 8 to 17 say they worry a lot. Anxiety can lead to a lack of sleep and higher levels of cortisol (not good for our bodies/system with over extended periods of time).


What can you do?

  • You can help your child manage stress and anxiety by spending calm, family time together.
  • Help your child manage their anxiety VS trying to eliminate it.
  • Don’t avoid things just because they cause anxiety.
  • Express positive, but realistic expectations.
  • Respect their feelings but don’t endorse them.
  • Keep it real. Don’t reinforce their fears or ask leading questions.

How about physical factors?

Questions? Simply drop us a line @ 250.384.2558 or Email Us and we’ll be happy to help.

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