Albertans must put down devices before bed, be more active to improve health: report

Click to play video: 'The link between nutrition and sleep' The link between nutrition and sleep
WATCH ABOVE: Registered dietitian Brooke Bulloch explains the possible link between nutrition and sleep and offers up good food options that may support better sleep patterns (Nov. 20, 2018). – Nov 20, 2018

Albertans are not immune to having their sleep impacted by electronic devices.

A new Alberta Survey on Physical Activity suggests the majority of adults in the province are having their sleep affected by the use of electronic devices. The 2019 Alberta Survey on Physical Activity reports that 70 per cent of adults have a device in the bedroom and 65 per cent of them use their device within 30 minutes of attempting to go to sleep, which experts say can make it harder to fall asleep.

“While Albertans are meeting the sleep recommendations of seven to nine hours of sleep for adults 18 to 64 years, and seven to eight for adults 65 years or older, they are underestimating the impact that electronic devices have on quality of sleep,” Centre for Active Living director Nora Johnston said.

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Johnstone said Albertans need to think about incorporating a good night’s sleep as part of a healthy and active lifestyle.

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“Evidence suggests that physical activity can support improvements in being able to fall asleep and overall sleep quality,” she said.

“Although more investigation is needed to understand how sedentary behaviour can affect sleep, it is understood that achieving too few hours of sleep can lead to feelings of tiredness, which may in turn lead to being more sedentary. Similarly, spending a lot of time sedentary, such as screen-time, may also lead to reductions in sleep time and quality.”

Dr. Soultana Macridis, a co-author of the report, said Albertans need to be more active as well as get the necessary sleep.

“There are 36 per cent of Alberta who are not physically active enough to achieve health benefits and one-third of Albertans sit for 10 hours or more a day,” Macridis said.

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Research suggests an inactive and sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of chronic physical and mental health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

Experts also suggest getting the appropriate amount of sleep can help with learning, memory and emotional regulation.

“Alberta should focus on the distinction between physical activities and sedentary behaviour time and providing supports for Albertans to move more and sit less in the places they live, work and play,” Dr. Macridis said.

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“At the same time, informing Albertans about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and risks of sleeping too few or too many hours is recommended.

“Increasing awareness across each behaviour can support a decrease in the risk of developing chronic disease conditions and improve overall quality of life.”

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Other studies have also indicated adults who have regular bedtime are likely to weigh less than those who don’t.

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