Cut out the tablets... and get sounder sleep

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Computers, tablets and smartphones are contributing to an epidemic of sleep deprivation, new research has suggested.

Almost six in 10 of the population are regularly getting no more than seven hours sleep a night, the new research claims today, with 78 per cent of Britons exposed to sleep-disruptive blue light from computer devices before going to bed.

Among 18 to 24-year-olds included in the 2,149 adults questioned, this figure rose to 91 per cent.

“The blue light from these devices suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so it’s important to avoid them before bedtime,” said psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, who commissioned the YouGov poll.

The amount of sleep we need varies, but adults generally require a minimum of seven to eight hours a night.

The proportion of people thought to be getting too little sleep had risen by a fifth since a “bedroom poll” conducted last year by the National Sleep Foundation.

“This is a huge rise, and the results are extremely worrying because getting less than seven hours sleep a night is below the recommended guidelines, and is associated with a range of problems, including an increased risk of weight gain, heart attacks, 
diabetes and cancer,” Prof Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, said.

Just 10 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement: “I would describe my dreams as pleasant”.