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Facebook for Sleep? (12/07/10)

December 7, 2010

Another Facebook Effect

The Facebook effect may bring communities together on a host of different issues, but more people are using Facebook as a bedtime fix.  Internet forecasters often like to say this time is different – this time they may be right.

Travelodge Tells It

You don’t expect hotel companies to put out surveys that consistently serve the public health, but Travelodge in Britain has done a pretty good job.  Their latest survey of 6000 UK adults found 72% check Facebook before they go to sleep.

That’s just the beginning – here are a few more facts reported in the Cambridge News by Jordan Day:

65% of adults declared the last act they perform before sleep is to check their cell phone for text messages.

18% tweet in bed and

20% catch up on their friend’s twitter feed in bed

27% are woken up by text messages.

25% get late night messages from the boss.

Implications

1. The Net is changing your body, quickly  – as I explained in the four articles on the Internet’s effect on physiology  last week.  Night is turning into day for teenagers and adolescents, though humans are built to sleep at night.

2. Less sleep will mean more weight, more fatigue, more low mood, as people don’t give their bodies a chance to rebuild.  Rest is regeneration – and that renewal is how your body stays healthy and alive.  Rest deprive an animal long enough and it dies.

3. Social networking is now viewed by large parts of the population as an integral part of life so important they will engage it all day and through the night.

The Advantages of Social Networking

It’s good to know what your friends and loved ones are doing.  It’s good to know they’re safe.  Facebook and the Net in general can connect people quickly and easily.

However, it’s not good to forget about human physiology and treat yourself like a machine.

Machines don’t care about night and day.  Machines usually don’t care how long they’re “on” as long as the energy source is running.  Machines are generally at their best when they’re first built, and wear out with use.

Humans learn till they die.  Humans rebuild themselves at astonishing rates in order to preserve their lives.  Humans recreate themselves anew everybody, rebuilding memories and thoughts as they create new ones.

If people are given a chance to rest and rebuild, that is.

What You Can Do

Certainly look at your text messages before sleep.  But try to do it well before you go to bed –perhaps an hour before.

Many people in industrialized countries are so wired up they can’t sleep.  When they do, their sleep is fitful.  When they do, their sleep never seems long enough.

Most of us need to rest Before we sleep.  We need to calm down and allow our body clocks to take over, putting us into sleep to renew ourselves for the new day.

Otherwise we run down.  Get tired.  Feel cranky.  Need more stimulants to get through the hours.

And gain weight and set ourselves up for illness.

So use Facebook to set up a community to help everyone rest.  Write up and exchange tips for active rest in the day and calming rest in the night.  There are thousands of rest techniques out there, physical, mental, social and spiritual,  a common cultural framework for all humanity.

One way to start is to exchange ideas of how to pre-dream, to give your brain concepts it can play with during REM sleep.  Your pre-dream can come from anywhere, from history or the present.  Let your friends and colleagues give you new ideas your brain can work on as you dream, reformatting, rebuilding, rewiring itself into a wiser, more intelligent mind.

Rest renews you.  It can also be a creative act.
Rest, sleep, Sarasota Sleep Doctor, well-being, regeneration, longevity, body clocks, insomnia, sleep disorders, the rest doctor, matthew edlund, the power of rest, the body clock, psychology today, huffington post, redbook, longboat key news

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