Broadband internet may cause sleep deprivation: Study

Access to high-speed internet may reduce the duration and quality of your sleep, according to a study.

The research, published in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation, found that individuals with Digital subscriber line (DSL) access tend to sleep 25 minutes less than their counterparts without DSL internet.

DSL is a technology for bringing high- bandwidth internet to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines.

The researchers from Bocconi University in Italy and the University of Pittsburgh in the US conclude that access to high-speed Internet reduces sleep duration and sleep satisfaction in individuals that face time constraints in the morning for work or family reasons.

“Individuals with DSL access tend to sleep 25 minutes less than their counterparts without DSL Internet,” said Francesco Billari, a professor at Bocconi University. “They are significantly less likely to sleep between seven and nine hours, the amount recommended by the scientific community, and are less likely to be satisfied with their sleep,” Billari said.

The effect that the researchers find is largely driven by individuals that face time constraints in the morning and by the use of electronic devices in the evening, and not by their use throughout the day.

“Digital temptations may lead to a delay in bedtime, which ultimately decreases sleep duration for individuals who are not able to compensate for later bedtime by waking up later in the morning,” Billari said.

The temptations individuals are prone to vary according to age, the study found. Among teenagers and young adults (aged 13-30), there is a significant association between insufficient sleep and time spent on computer games or watching TV or videos in the evening, researchers said.

For older adults (31-59) the correlation is with the use of PCs and smartphones, they said.

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