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How gadgets break sleep – and help to fix it

Technology use has a massively negative impact on sleep, but also holds the solution, writes sleep expert MIRA RAKICEVIC



The modern way of living has given us a lot of positive things and improved our lives in numerous ways. However, the quality of our sleep has deteriorated substantially in recent years due to our new lifestyle. 

It’s no secret that technology is partly to blame. One of the reasons for that is that at least 95% of people use technology within one hour before going to bed. Consequently, it is estimated that around 1.2 billion people worldwide suffer for some kind of sleep disorder. 

The Negative Impact of Technology on Sleep

We know that technology can affect the quality of our sleep in a negative way, but how does it happen? The main culprit is the blue light emitted from smartphones, computers, and TV screens. 

Light from the blue light spectrum tells our brain to stay awake and exerts stress on it. We need red light to tell our brains that it should wind down and get ready to go to sleep. LED bulbs can also be to blame as some of them emit very intense white-blue light. 

During the day, the effects of blue light are not strong. However, problems begin when we start using technology at night. We should try to avoid looking at any screens and expose ourselves to any artificial light sources at least one hour before going to sleep. This will give our brain enough time to tell our bodies to start secreting melatonin and prepare to enter the world of dreams. 

Technology Can Also Help Us Sleep Better

We’ve mentioned all the negative effects technology can have on our sleep. However, not everything about technology and sleep is bad. Thanks to science and hard-working people with vision, technology can also help us sleep better and improve the quality of our lives. Here are some of the most common sleep disorders high-tech solutions can help us with.


Everybody knows at least one person who snores. If you don’t, then we’re afraid that you’re that person. Snoring statistics say that around 40% of men and 20% of women snore, which makes snoring one of the most widespread sleep disorders. 

It happens when air cannot pass freely through the nose and the throat during sleep, so it makes a loud and annoying sound. Nudging the person who snores helps, but technology is a much better solution.

The three best devices to use include Hupnos Snoring Mask, Philips SmartSleep Snoring, and Urgonight EEG Headband. All three aim to detect snoring and remind the sleeper to change their position to allow a free flow of air.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea sounds more serious than snoring, but it is more common than you’d think. The problem is that a lot of people are not aware of suffering from sleep apnea, so it often goes undiagnosed. 

Around 20% of the world population suffers from this disorder, but 80% of cases go completely undetected. Due to the nature of this disorder, men are more at danger of developing it than women. 

Luckily, technology comes to rescue here as well. The best three devices you can use are called SlumberBUMP, BiPAP, and EPAP technology – Theravent. These devices use different methods to prevent breathing obstructions by training people to sleep on their sides or regulating their airflow mechanically. 


Insomnia is perhaps the most annoying sleep disorder after snoring. There’s nothing worse than being tired after a long day of dealing with daily obligations but not being able to fall asleep when finally in bed. 

Prolonged insomnia which can put one’s health and life in danger is rare. However, around 10% to 15% of people in the world have troubles falling and staying asleep. Insomnia is even more common with older generations, 30-60% of whom suffer from it. 

Most of the time, insomnia is short-term and lasts for a day or several days. But sometimes it might last for weeks or months, in which case it becomes a serious problem.

In any case, those who suffer from insomnia should try solving their problem with technology. The three best solutions are called Sleepio, Ebb Insomnia Therapy, Good Night Biological LED Bulb. These devices learn about your sleeping patterns, lower your core temperature, or use light therapy to help you fall asleep and are pretty efficient at doing it.


Showmax launches half-price mobile streaming service

A new streaming product designed specifically for Africa, featuring TV series as well as African content and live sport, is aimed at filling the gap in subscription video on demand services



The subscription video on demand (SVoD) model, which originated in the USA, spread rapidly in countries where uncapped broadband is affordable and widely available. However, because the model also relies on consumers being comfortable with transacting online and having ready access to credit cards, it has barely scratched the surface across Africa.

On top of that, smartphones are often the only only form of Internet access across Africa, and none of the popular SVoD services have been designed for the format.

Showmax says it plans to change this with the launch of a new mobile plan that costs 50% of the standard Showmax package but still features 100% of the same video content. Showmax is set apart by a combination of four pillars: hit African content, exclusive international series, topkids’ shows, and live sport, including weekly matches from the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, and Spain’s La Liga.

Showmax says the new plan is aimed at consumers who only use smartphones and tablets to watch video content. Video resolution peaks at standard definition to help reduce data consumption. As it is a product aimed at individuals, only one concurrent stream is included in the plan. As with the regular service, it is also available for a 14-day free trial.

“This is all about an African service developing a solution that meets the needs of African consumers,” saus Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. “Customer feedback consistently points to local content and sport as some of the things that people value most from Showmax. That’s of course on top of the international series, movies, and kids’ shows that are our bread and butter. With all of that content now available in a product designed specifically for mobile usage, we’re doing something no other service can offer.

“On top of that, with groundbreaking deals like our new offer with Vodacom in South Africa, we solve the credit card issue through add-to-bill payment and the data issue by including data directly in the package. We’re looking to launch similar offers in Kenya and Nigeria soon.”

Both the standard and mobile plans include live sport, sport magazine shows and sport documentaries. The 2019 Rugby World Cup Final was streamed live on Showmax earlier this month, and the following is a selection of some of the football due to be live-streamed in November:

22 November: Levante vs Mallorca (La Liga)

23 November: Arsenal vs Southampton (Premier League)

24 November: Bologna vs Parma (Serie A)

25 November: Aston Villa vs Newcastle United (Premier League)

29 November: Celta Vigo vs Valladolid (La Liga)

30 November: Fiorentina vs Lecce (Serie A)

30 November: Chelsea vs West Ham United (Premier League)

Showmax’s mobile plan is currently available in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. 

Comparison of Showmax plans:

Mobile Standard
Price per monthR49 / N1450 / KSh 375R99 / N2900 / KSh 750
Watch on smartphone or tabletYesYes
Watch on smart TV and computerNoYes
HD streamingNoYes
TV series, movies, kids’ showsYesYes
Concurrent streams12
Cancel anytimeYesYes
14-day free trialYesYes
Chromecast and AirPlayNoYes
Number of devicesOne registered device5 devices can be registered, with 2 able to stream at the same time

For a 14-day free trial, visit

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Online series wins SA’s Journalist of the Year award

A series of stories on gang warfare in Hanover Park earned Tammy Petersen of News24 the ultimate prize in South African journalism. Here are all the winners of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards.



At the 18th edition of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards held at Vodacom World earlier tonight, News24’s Tammy Petersen took top honours and the R100,000 grand prize as national winner for her body of work on a gang war series entitled When you live in Hanover Park, you know death. Petersen’s submission was one of over 1,000 entries received from around the country across 12 categories – Investigative, Opinion, Lifestyle, Photography, Sport, Economics, Politics, CSI, Live reporting/ breaking news, Data Journalism, Multi-platform and the Young Journalist of the Year Award. This year’s theme – Connect the Dots – pays tribute to the best-of-the-best of those entries.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group says: “This year has seen extraordinary entries to the 18th Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards. Not all the stories that are national winners were about huge events but also showed the importance of telling the stories of ordinary people. In line with our theme, the dots were indeed connected, and we congratulate all the winners.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “The quality of entries has convinced the judges once again that our industry is in good hands, as far as journalism is concerned, despite the many problems that have beset the industry in recent times. Judging from the entries, South African journalists are determined to fly the flag high for a free, independent, and vigorous media, which augurs well for our democracy. As judges, we can only salute all the entrants for the great work that they submitted. In the end, our industry is probably the biggest winner.”

Judges for this year’s awards are: Ryland Fisher (convenor), Jermaine Craig, Arthur Goldstuck, Albe Grobbelaar, Franz Kruger, Patricia McCracken, Mapi Mhlangu, Collin Nxumalo, Mary Papayya, and Obed Zilwa.

Visit the next page for the full list of winners and their citations.

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