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WVU Health Report: Sleeping with technology is a recipe for insomnia

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According to a recent study, 95 percent of us surf the web, text or watch television right before going to bed. Is your technology keeping you awake?

According to sleep experts, interacting with our gadgets is a prescription for insomnia.

If you sleep with your phone right next to your bed, you're not alone. The latest research says most people do. And 1 in 4 smart phone users don't turn them off before they shut their eyes to sleep. "If you receive a text message in the middle of the night from a friend who doesn't necessarily mean you need to respond right away but little things can happen with your phone, little alerts can go off that trigger and alarm that would be intrusive to your sleep," said Dr. John Young of the West Virginia University Sleep Center.

And if you think that's intrusive, 50 percent of people who sleep with their phones on and nearby say if they wake in the middle of night for no reason, they'll check their phones, exposing themselves to the lighted screens.

"A lot of modern technological devices utilizes a lighted screen and light is something that translates into our brain certain chemicals or changes that are counterproductive to sleep," said Dr. Young. "You could be in a darkened room but still have alighted screen in front of you that's triggering your brain that you should stay awake."

Even night-time television watching can keep you awake. "Especially if you're watching an action show or suspense television show or something that's going to get

your heart going. So if you watch that type of TV before bed, it's going to be counterproductive to being able to fall asleep," said Dr. Young.

Experts say we should turn off our cell phones, computers and TVs at least a half hour before going to bed.