LIFESTYLE

Can't Get To Sleep? How The Internet Might Be Making It Harder To Nod Off

28/08/2013 10:04 BST | Updated 28/08/2013 10:05 BST

If you're finding it hard to get to sleep, you may read a dozen suggestions about how to remedy that.

But let us save you the trouble and cut to the chase: don't go on the internet.

A new survey has revealed that nine out of 10 people are sacrificing a good night's sleep in order to stay in touch on the internet.

bad sleep

More than half of 2,000 people polled said they went online while in bed trying to sleep and one in five admitted they needed to check their Twitter, Facebook or email accounts because they have a "fear of missing out".

Just one in 10 described their quality of sleep as "good".

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This echoes findings from a Travelodge survey last week, which revealed that 27% of Brits are getting less sleep than they did a year ago, and that four out of 10 of us are repeatedly hitting the snooze button to fool our bodies into thinking its getting more sleep. Note: this doesn't work.

Professor Colin Espie, co-founder of sleep improvement programme Sleepio.com wrote to HuffPost UK Lifestyle and advised: "If you are trying to establish a good sleep pattern, that is you're concerned about your sleep and trying to fix it, give yourself a fixed rising time each day, 7 days a week.

"Set your alarm and make sure you get up, don't hit the snooze button. If your sleep is already in good shape then it's okay to snooze on a bit, but maybe just the one extra 10 minutes."

mobile phone bed

If you are prone to poor sleep, there is a scientific explanation as to why you should stop using your laptop, tablet or smartphone after a certain time.

The blue light emitted by devices such as mobile phones and tablets mimics daylight and suppresses production of a brain chemical called melatonin, which helps us sleep, research has shown.

Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said: "As technology to keep us connected improves, we face a new battle with trying to switch off at night. Sufferers should try and avoid using phones, laptops, and other screen-based devices for at least an hour before bed."

The survey, carried out by Nytol also found almost half of people went straight from the couch to bed, less than 15 minutes after switching off the TV, two in five checked emails or social media accounts straight before bed, and one in four thought they were addicted to checking emails and social media in bed.

A spokesman for the firm said: "Never before in history have we faced such an overload of information, causing people in the UK to suffer from a rising tide of sleep problems."