Checking social media, watching videos, or playing with your mobile or tablet before bed at night makes us sleep less and get fat. It is 'technological vamping', a new habit that can be kept at bay through digital self-control. Despite the enormous impact and prominence of the pandemic on the new virus


Do you usually sleep with the lights already off and look at your tablet, laptop or mobile to see if anything has been discussed in the "WhatsApp" group of parents at school"? Or see if an old boyfriend has posted any more photos on Facebook? Or maybe watch a chapter of your favorite series...?

It is a widespread habit that many people practice daily but that can have negative consequences; physical and mental. Not only for exposure to the light of devices, but because of the content and information that our mind receives and its impact on our emotional well-being, according to the experts.

The term 'vamping' arises from the English words 'vampire' (vampire, a fantastic being who is active at night) and 'texting' (sending texting via electronic devices), according to the Association of Internauts.

The Clínica Universidad de Navarra warns that this 'technological phenomenon' produces an alteration of sleep that influences its quality and appetite, since it increases the feeling of hunger and induces to eat more, especially sweets.

"Vamping, or using new technologies before bedtime, has negative health effects, as screen light affects sleep quality and performance," according to Dr. Angela Milan, neurologist at CUN's Sleep Unit.

The problem with using screens before bed lies in the short-wave blue light emitted by electronic devices. To fall asleep, our brain begins to produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle, about two hours before we go to sleep, according to the CUN.

Turn off the light and turn on the screen

"If we use electronic devices with light, the brain understands that it is still daylight and does not secrete this hormone, so we delay the start of sleep and sleep fewer hours, which we call technological insomnia," explains Dr Milan.

"Vamping is a new phenomenon that is on the rise in recent years, especially in adolescents, but also in children, who have increasingly young mobile phones," he adds.

"Alteration in melatonin segregation stimulates our appetite and appetite for fattier, sweeter foods," according to Dr. Maria Alija, pediatric endocrinologist at CUN.

"If we don't respect our sleep cycles and also use screens before bed, we alter the natural process, so we're hungrier, and we get more fat," he adds.

"Reducing hours of sleep increases tiredness and we're not as active, which in the long run also affects weight," he says.

"Vamping can also alter sleep by the type of content and information we receive," says psychologist and technology addiction expert Gabriela Paoli.

"Audios, images and videos can upset us and cause anxiety, worry, discomfort and tension. "WhatsApp" chats or groups can be platforms of conflict and misunderstanding, provoking long conversations, discussions, and tensions. This takes away our peace of mind to fall asleep," he says.

For Paoli, the increase in digital tv and movie platforms could also have a worse rest.

"When we have fun, have a good time and enjoy ourselves, we want to go on and on, without being very aware of the weather, depriving our body and brain of an essential element for our health: sleep," Paoli warns.


For a better rest, Paoli recommends not bringing electronic devices such as mobiles or tablets to bed, as well as avoiding using them in the moments leading up to sleep.

He even discourages having a TV in the bedroom. "All screens must be banished from the bedroom," he stresses.

It also recommends creating evening rituals, doing something that reassures or relaxes us before bed, such as taking a shower or drinking an infusion. It also indicates that you can go back to the classic: take a walk, read a book, paint, write, listen to music, or practice some relaxation or breathing technique.

"In short, the basis is to make conscious, healthy, and voluntary use of our digital leisure time, so that we can function properly the next day. We need to learn how to manage the duration of access to the Network and enjoy it with self-discipline and self-control, prioritizing our health," he says.

For Paoli "it is essential to become aware, both of the number of hours we are exposed to devices, and of the consequences of 'vamping', which can take away hours of sleep and tranquility".

"By interacting with devices and screens that display content designed to attract us for hours and hours, our brain secretes dopamine, happiness hormone and well-being, producing a pleasurable stimulus, which is difficult to subtract from and waste the notion of time," he says.

That's why you recommend:

Mark a time for digital leisure, outside of the evening hours.

Leave your phone or tablet out of sight so they don't make us want to use them.

Put the devices in 'airplane mode' or turn off the Wi-Fi, before going to sleep, so as not to be tempted to check the devices.

"Strengthening the attitude that we have control of the situation is essential," Paoli concludes.