Impact of lifestyle and technology developments on sleep
Department of Nursing, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Abstract: Although the physiological and psychological mechanisms involved in the development of sleep disorders remain similar throughout history, factors that potentiate these mechanisms are closely related to the "zeitgeist", ie, the sociocultural, technological and lifestyle trends which characterize an era. Technological advancements have afforded modern society with 24-hour work operations, transmeridian travel and exposure to a myriad of electronic devices such as televisions, computers and cellular phones. Growing evidence suggests that these advancements take their toll on human functioning and health via their damaging effects on sleep quality, quantity and timing. Additional behavioral lifestyle factors associated with poor sleep include weight gain, insufficient physical exercise and consumption of substances such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Some of these factors have been implicated as self-help aids used to combat daytime sleepiness and impaired daytime functioning. This review aims to highlight current lifestyle trends that have been shown in scientific investigations to be associated with sleep patterns, sleep duration and sleep quality. Current understanding of the underlying mechanisms of these associations will be presented, as well as some of the reported consequences. Available therapies used to treat some lifestyle related sleep disorders will be discussed. Perspectives will be provided for further investigation of lifestyle factors that are associated with poor sleep, including developing theoretical frameworks, identifying underlying mechanisms, and establishing appropriate therapies and public health interventions aimed to improve sleep behaviors in order to enhance functioning and health in modern society.
Keywords: sleep, technology, lifestyle, behavior
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