People who have faster internet at home get less sleep, research has revealed.
As ultrafast broadband and fibre optic cables become ever more widespread, people’s sleep is taking more of a hit from the technology.
Those who have broadband internet in their houses get 25 minutes less sleep per night than people without the web at their fingertips, a study shows.
Researchers at Bocconi University in Milan found broadband access directly reduces the amount of sleep people get, how tired they feel and their sleep satisfaction.
And they say this is because those with better internet access spend more time online and stay up later on video games, computers or social media.
The temptation of using these devices makes people go to bed later but they still have to get up early for work or school, so end up being tired.
Some 93 per cent of UK homes with internet access have broadband, suggesting there are millions of people losing sleep because of the world wide web.
People with DSL internet access – broadband internet – are significantly less likely to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night, the study found.
Having a tight time schedule in the morning and the habit of using electronic devices at night add to the loss of sleep by making people less restful.
To find their results the researchers compared data on broadband speeds across Germany with national surveys about people’s sleeping habits.
How people use the internet varies depending on their age – teenagers and young adults, ages 13-30, are most likely to play computer games or watch TV or videos.
Whereas older adults, between 31 and 59, are more likely to be using their smartphones or computers to browse the internet.
The project leader Francesco Billari said: ‘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.’
A third of adults say they don’t regularly get enough sleep, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And 90 per cent of British households have internet access, with 93 per cent of those using high-speed broadband lines.
This suggests millions of people could be losing out on precious shut-eye because they can’t pull themselves away from the internet.
The study found that, as well as reducing average sleep time by 25 minutes, fast internet access in someone’s home makes them substantially more likely to say they don’t get enough sleep, and decreases how satisfied they are with their sleep.
The authors added: ‘High-speed internet makes it very enticing to stay up later to play video games, surf the web and spend time online on social media.’
And they add concerns that social media and ‘digitalisation of the bedroom’ could be damaging children’s sleep habits and performance at school, but there is not enough evidence.
The findings were published in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization.