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The Surprising Reason You’re Tired

woman on her phone at night


Some sleeping woes can be blamed on the Internet.

They say it’s the little things that matter most. And just a little bit of sleep deprivation can apparently add up, snowballing into lost work efficiency for a whole country. The estimate for Germany’s sleepiness, for example, was 200,000 working days lost, for example. There’s a surprising saboteur to blame for this sleep deprivation: DSL Internet access.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, access to broadband Internet is a leading cause of sleep deprivation. The sleep-robbing effect isn’t much—only about 25 minutes when averaged out—but still seems to cause problems. “Individuals with DSL access tend to sleep 25 minutes less than their counterparts without DSL Internet,” wrote the study’s principal investigator, Francesco Billari, of Bocconi University in Milan. “They are significantly less likely to sleep between 7 and 9 hours, the amount recommended by the scientific community, and are less likely to be satisfied with their sleep.”

The issue, the researchers say, is that the Internet is tempting enough to cause people to stay up a wee bit later than they should, and then their time is constrained in the morning by work or school, making it impossible to sleep in to compensate for that lost sleep. Which devices were proving most enticing at night depended largely on the age of the person using the DSL, the researchers said. For example, teens and young adults were more likely to be watching TV, while older adults were often using smartphones and their personal computers.

If you’re constantly feeling a little under-rested, think about those 25 minutes you might be scrimping on, and see if adjusting your Internet use in the evening may help put a bit more bounce in your step again.

About the Author

Kathryn Drury Wagner

Kathryn Drury Wagner is based in Savannah. She’s been a contributor to the magazine for many years, and she loves sharing ways to build a healthy, mindful, and sustainable lifestyle.

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