Tag: technology

Technology and Sleep (or Lack Thereof)

March 22, 2016 | By | 1 Comment

Apple just released iOS 9.3, and with it, a novel new feature called night shift. The premise is simple. At sunset, the screen automatically reduces blue shades of light known to disrupt sleep. Brilliant – not in the luminous sense – right?

Yes and no. Mitigating the adverse affects technology has on our health is surely a good thing. We live in a sleep deprived culture, and science is just beginning to understand how sleep affects daily mood and even our chances of developing serious diseases and medical conditions. Getting more and better sleep is a good thing for all of us.

But I wonder if this points to a deeper problem. If viewing bright lights at night is deleterious for our sleep, and we begin to create apps and programs that mitigate this problem, shouldn’t this cause us to rethink how we use technology – or how it is using us?

What if our main issue is not that we happen to view too much blue light too late in the evening, but that we allow technology – the tool that should allow us greater control – to control us. Nature has prescribed plenty of healthy activities for us to engage in after sunset. Relaxing, talking with friends, perhaps a stroll outside, and the seemingly elusive bedtime rituals that prepare our minds and bodies for restful, healthful, and restorative sleep. Technology often works against all that nature has prescribed.

Is this what technology is for? Are we using our technology, or is it using us?

“All human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.” Blaise Pascal


Post Script:
I am obviously not advocating that all technological use after sunset is always bad. Indeed in our culture it is sometimes necessary. But perhaps we should rethink what is “necessary” if we truly desire to foster healthy bodies and minds. Also, the program f.lux is a another extremely helpful programs that can reduce light that negatively affects sleep.

Post Post Script:
My friend drew this picture and thinking about this issue reminded me of it:

Internet and Life Goals