Monday, 1 July 2013

Smartphones, laptops keeping Gen Y sleepless

BindiMehta, a student of business studies, says her day picks up pace once she returns home late in the evening. Glued to her laptop and smartphone, with the TV tuned in to a music channel, she spends almost the entire night talking to her boyfriend, watching movies on the net or catching up with friends on social media networks. In fact, sleep is hardly on her mind before 3am. Bindi is no exception. Technology and television are keeping an increasing number of Gen-Yers sleepless. 

Tech addicts?
Hina Khan, a writer in her twenties, says, "I don't sleep till 1.30am on weekdays. During weekends, it can stretch till 3am. Even if I sleep early, I wake up late. So, I don't see any point in sleeping early. I have a boyfriend now, but even when I was single, I used to spend time chatting with friends. The best part is, my parents don't monitor my phone calls." 

Doesn't it make her drowsy? Hina says she makes up for it by taking a short nap at work, after lunch. And if she is to be believed, it works for her.

According to psychiatrists and counsellors, video games and texting are next to TV and laptops when it comes to disrupting sleep. The more you interact with people at night, the less awake and alert you will be.

Actor DarsheelSafary of the TaareZameen Par fame says one can't escape the lure of technology. But, says the teenager, his parents ensure that he sleeps on time. "It's not just about texting friends. I enjoy exploring technology in the evenings as I have more free time. Occasionally, I also play video games." 

The flip side
Dr AnjaliChhabria, a psychiatrist, says she often comes across parents who complain about their children not sleeping enough. "This is a generation that wants too much too soon, so 24 hours are not enough for them. Gen-Yers are not worried about sleeping, they mostly catch up on their sleep during the weekends. They may get away with it now, but will pay a heavy price later," she says. 

Stress buster?
Actor Divyendu Sharma says erratic working hours are also to be blamed. "Many youngsters work in the entertainment and software industries and their office hours are erratic. Even entrepreneurs work till late, so to expect them to sleep on time is not practical . As far as I am concerned, I enjoy watching movies on my laptop till late," he explains.

SiddhrajSarvaiya, a software programmer, is hooked to his games. His father did object, but Siddhraj says it takes his mind off work-related stress. "Chatting, texting and playing video games take my mind off constant worries and insecurities. It also helps me enjoy the present without thinking too much about future plans and ambitions."

Boney S, a writer, is a news junkie. He can't sleep without checking the latest news updates on internet. He says, "I also make it a point to watch movies or catch up on the latest e-book. I usually go to sleep listening to songs on my mp3 player. If I don't do these things, I feel that the day has been incomplete. On weekdays, I go to sleep around 4am."

However, Dr Chhabria cautions that such a lifestyle can have major repercussions. Many youngsters end up making endless cups of coffee and sleeping pills a habit. She says, "Many youngsters in the age bracket of 16-20 insist on taking sleeping pills."

While a technology-deprived life may be inconceivable to most youngsters — we are not even suggesting it — the trick is to knowto draw the line. Wake up. Before it's too late.

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