You know your smartphone addiction has reached an entirely new level of unhealthy when you can’t hit the pillow at night without it beside you.
As if it isn’t problematic enough to leave your devices charging in the bedroom overnight, a survey conducted by YouGov and The Huffington Post last fall found that 63 percent of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 actually sleep with their phones or tablets in their beds.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that our chronic sleep deprivation is linked to these devices being allowed in our sleep space. A study published in the journal Nature last summer by Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, M.D., Ph.D., revealed how the artificial blue light emitted from electronic devices like cell phones, smartphones and tablets activates arousing neurons within the brain, preventing us from feeling sleepy. Plus: Remaining tethered to technology up until bedtime and keeping devices in our sleeping environments (leading to increased access) not only affects our ability to fall asleep, but the quality of the sleep we achieve by disrupting the body’s production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.
While the blue light argument is a focal point in the tech-free bedroom movement, it’s not the only reason we benefit from leaving the bedroom a sanctuary reserved for sleep.
Many people can relate to that feeling of getting home from the office later than normal and getting to bed behind schedule because of it. And whose alarm has never gone off before you may have wanted it to on a workday? But some jobs are especially, consistently bad for your sleep ― like anything that requires you to work the night shift, which may raise risk of on-the-job injuries, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, memory problems and even some cancers.
Where does your job rank? In a report released earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measured for the first time which occupations are most likely to get at least the minimum seven hours of sleep per night that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends ― and which professions are least likely to meet that bar.
Telephone operators have it worst
Switchboard and telephone operators are least likely to get the recommended minimum seven hours of sleep compared to other professions, according to the CDC.
This came as a surprise to the researchers, and demonstrates why it’s so important to look at how our jobs affect sleep, report author Taylor Shockey, a fellow at the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, told The Huffington Post.
So many of the choices we make because of work affect our health. But when it comes to measuring health ― and particularly occupational health ― sleep is often overlooked, Shockey explained. Yet “the type of work a person does and their sleep duration are significantly [linked],” she said.
To come up with the rankings, the CDC analyzed survey responses from 179,621 workers in 29 states who reported how much sleep they typically got in a 24-hour period. The researchers organized the survey respondents into 22 broad occupational categories, and then broke those down further into 93 more specific groups.
“Switchboard and telephone operators” make up one of the more specific professional groups from the list of 93 (“communications equipment operators”).