/ Technology

Put your hand up if you check Facebook in bed

Woman checking Which? Conversation in bed

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed? Watch telly, read a book, cuddle your other half? Or maybe you’re with the three quarters of Brits who check a social networking site, like Facebook?

I’m sure you’re all thinking ‘how sad!’ but I happen to be one of many who check social networks before they turn in.

In fact, I’ll often hop into bed and spend a good hour browsing a number of websites prior to falling asleep. I’ll then turn on BBC iPlayer to finally help me drift off.

Writing on our walls before bed

Thankfully (or worryingly) I’m not alone. Almost three quarters of British adults check Facebook before they go to bed, or so says a study commissioned by Travelodge. Plus, one in five admitted to sending a night-time tweet on… you guessed it, Twitter.

Since only half of the UK are on Facebook (23 million) the stats already look a bit dubious. Still, a somewhat respectable 6,000 adults were questioned (a respectable number, unlike the adults themselves who probably lost your respect when they admitted to browsing Facebook before bed) and they spend an average of 16 minutes social networking between the sheets.

So what else do Brits do between the sheets? Well, naturally they… do their weekly grocery shopping. Wait, what? Yes, you heard me correctly – a quarter of Britons do their weekly shopping in bed. One in 10 settle outstanding bills and a third catch up on celebrity gossip.

What about mobile phones? Are they getting in on the action? Yes, and in more ways than one. You might be disappointed to hear that 20% of those surveyed admitted that “they have stopped mid-way whilst making love with their partner to check on an incoming text message”. Oh my days, how… intimate.

Late night updates bad for our health

So what’s all this late night technological activity doing to our sleep patterns? Well Dr Michael Hastings, a sleep specialist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire, doesn’t think it’s doing us any good:

‘Being exposed to bright light from computer and mobile phone screens while in bed completely delays the brain and body’s ability to get to sleep. As a result, people are not able to get to sleep as quickly as they should and aren’t getting the required amount of sleep they need each night.’

Psychologist Corinne Sweet adds:

‘Bedtime should be associated with calming down and chilling out with a good book, listening to easy music, catching up with your partner or enjoying a love-making session; in order to get a night of deep, nourishing sleep.’

I just can’t help it. But when it comes to actually having to wake up in the morning, it’s the alarm clock that’s actually going the way of the dodo. Eight in 10 adults supposedly rely on their mobile phones to help them rise and shine, though I’ll admit, I often forget to set mine. Zzzzzz.

Gareth says:
8 December 2010

So true, i have to check before i turn in and before i get out of bed. scarely now a set part of my day

Naomi says:
8 December 2010

I’m afraid I’m the same as Gareth above. I use my phone to wake me up too, and I happen to have trouble getting to sleep, and also wake up often in the night… hmmm.

We’ll be discussing this in the technology podcast – live on Wednesday. which.co.uk/podcasts. You can already get a good book and easy listenin’ on your device, as prescribed by Psycologist Corrinne Sweet, so what’s not to like, apart from backlit screens?