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Adventures in Sleep

How Much Are You Affected by the Digital Invasion?

Published August 29, 2013 10:31 AM by Penny Mehaffey

I am reading a good book right now called The Digital Invasion by Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd. I really like this book -- it's well worth the read. The author is a psychologist who is studying the effects our digital lifestyles are having -- not only on our health,  but our families and teens particularly. 

We all know the effects hormones have on us. But I don't think we really give a lot of thought to it in our day-to-day lives. I mean, we all know that we should stop all electronic stimulation 30 minutes before bedtime. That's sleep hygiene 101. Digital exposure, including cell phone, ipads, computers and especially gaming, causes a release of chemicals in our brain that directly effects our ability to relax and feel joy. 

Oxytocin, which the doctor calls our "love" hormone, is inhibited and so we - and especially teens -- experience a disconnect and have difficulty making intimate connections emotionally. We'd rather be in touch with our devices than people.

The flip side of that is the over stimulation we get from being constantly plugged in is causing an over-production of the stress hormone cortisol. This is not good for any of us but particularly harmful to our teens. If current statistics are right, one in four teens has some level of depression and they are also being stressed out by the very devices they can't live without. What are we to do? 

The answer would seem simple, limit the time spent playing or texting, etc. Good luck with that one.  It's probably going to be a battle royale.  Dr. Hart-Frejd does give hope and some good insights for coping and making a plan to deal with digital invasions. There are some good self quizzes included in the book as well. I found it good food for thought.

posted by Penny Mehaffey
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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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