Kent State University recently reported that people who spend too much time on their cell phones have lower fitness rates.
Are you really surprised? — At all?
In the age of the internet, we are spending more time staring at our iPhones and smartphone devices – sending text messages, reading funny Facebook posts, uploading photos to Instagram, and re-Tweeting 160 characters of “relatable tweets” rather than spending the time at the gym.
To make matters worse, not only are we choosing the phone over the gym, we are also spending a lot of time on our phones at night.
In a recent study at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, researchers found that looking deep into the virtual eyes of our smartphones at night, with the LED display backlit, we are interrupting our sleep. And studies have proven not getting enough sleep contributes to additional love on our handles, if you know what I mean.
In a recent study published in Sleep, participants who were restricted to four or five hours of sleep at night did in fact experience weight gain compared to the participants of the control group who did not see any weight change. It is believed sleep loss causes the hunger hormone, ghrelin, to rise, and the hormone which tells you to stop eating, leptin, to drop. In another sleep restriction study, participants who slept five hours a night consumed more calories, tended to eat a smaller breakfast, and subsequently ate more later in the day.
The lead researcher in Rensselaer study said, “Melatonin is the ‘darkness hormone’. An uptick in the melatonin production, which usually kicks in about two hours before your natural bedtime, preps you for sleep – telling the body it’s time to nod off. When the eyes are exposed to too much bright light (like from the backlit cell phone) at the “wrong” time of day, it interferes with the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the part of the brain that regulates your body clock…”
Therefore, scrolling Facebook one last time, or shopping online for that much-needed-item, or googling that burning question that hasn’t left you alone all day, too much looking into the light makes it difficult to fall asleep and contributes to sleep loss and possible weight gain.
So what’s a girl to do?
Be aware of how much time you’re spending on your phone/electronic device.
Ninety minutes before your normal bedtime, place your phone in the other room, and do not wander back for it – even if it’s a difficult habit to break.
If you absolutely have to be on the phone, dim the light settings. If you like to read on your Kindle, or iPad, or Nook, reverse the background so the light shines less brightly.
And although we’ve heard it before, this is essential for our overall fitness: Be sure to get enough rest, eat right, and exercise. This way, you’re smarter than your smartphone.