sleep woman Keep your phone away for a good night of sleep.
Credit: Colourbox

Our failure to unplug from computers and smartphones before bed is causing a dramatic rise in sleeplessness, a study by the University of Hertfordshire, England has revealed. Professor Richard Wiseman, one of the academics behind the research, found that two thirds of Brits are now getting less than seven hours' sleep, putting people at an increased risk of heart attacks, diabetes and cancer. However, there is some good news for those of you who are guilty of dropping off at your desk, as Wiseman states that a short afternoon nap can increase productivity in his new book "Night School: Wake Up to the Power of Sleep." Wiseman explains to Metro why we all need to shutdown at night.

How is technology detrimental to a good night’s sleep?

They emit a light that falls towards the blue end of the spectrum, which disrupts the production of a sleep hormone called melatonin that makes you feel sleepy. Blue light has a very negative effect on the hormone, so people should avoid computers, tablets and smartphones an hour or so before going to bed.

Is sleeplessness on the rise?

 

Yes, certainly in the UK. Two thirds of the population are counted as sleep deprived (under 7 hours per night). A year ago that was a round 40 percent, so there’s been a 20% percent increase, which we’re putting down to smartphones and tablets.

Why is it better to read a book before bed?

TVs, like computers, give off a blue light, so you’re better off reading something not very exciting in a low-ish light.

What are the benefits of a power-nap?

There are huge benefits. We’re designed to nap at one or two in the afternoon. It’s important to avoid sleeping for more than 90 minutes because that disrupts your sleep at night. Around twenty minutes is good because it’s a light sleep and a six-minute nap can clear your head. Employers don’t like it but you’ll see a rise in productivity because people are a lot more focused.

You also collated data on the most common dreams amongst participants, so which celebrity popped up most among dreamers?

On our dream database George Clooney was particularly popular amongst women. One woman, who would dream about him, was having this ongoing and elaborate affair.