With Fewer Electronics, People Follow a Natural Sleep Cycle
Researchers have studied how towns, less influenced by tech, sleep. They've found these people's wake/sleep cycles mimic the sun's. So, what can be done to save the tech-addicted cities?
The brain uses certain cues to know when to wake up; eating gets our metabolic systems going; and light suppresses the sleep chemical melatonin. But researchers have stated again and again how artificial light from iPads and smartphones — blue light — is messing with our sleep patterns. Developers have the task of finding ways to suppress this spectrum of light that's keeping users awake at night.
Gregory Ferenstein from Pacific Standard writes on several recent studies that look at how people in cities with fewer electronics sleep. One study found that the people in the rural town of Baependi, Brazil, take more of their cues from the sun.
Malcolm von Schantz from the University of Surrey, who led the study, explained:
"The people of Baependi, particularly those in the countryside, maintain a much stronger link with the solar rhythm, largely because many of them work outdoors. Midnight really represents the middle of the dark phase, and yet many of us in the industrialized world are not even in bed by then.”
The town sleeps at sundown (around 9:30 p.m.) and wakes with the rising sun (around 6:30 a.m.), whereas people in London wake around 8:30 a.m. and go to bed around 11:15 p.m. With fewer devices to compete for their attention, they're able to detach themselves. But it's also about the kind of light these devices emit. The blue-spectrum light, the same as the rising sun, is supposed to set our bodies in motion, but instead plays tricks on our sleep/wake cycle.
After all this research, tech giants have a new niche to market if they can figure out how to shade this blue glow. One startup founder, Michael Herf, already has. His f.lux software fixes this problem. “It makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.”
While some consumers are aware of the risks, it's time for developers to consider how they can create night-friendly tablet devices.
Read more at Pacific Standard.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.
I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.
- Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
- The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
- The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.