Posted on June 22 2019
How your phone is affecting your sleep quality.
When was the last time you went to bed without checking your phone first? If the answer is ‘I can’t remember’, there’s a high chance that your quality of sleep is being affected.
You’re not the only one: in a study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire, 78% of participants admitted to looking at a smartphone or similar device shortly before bed.
And that compulsion is affecting how well you sleep, according to the study. Blue light from the screens of smartphones, tablets and computers has been found to reduce our production of melatonin, a hormone that we depend on for deep and restful sleep.
The light is not the only culprit.
The light from your phone isn’t the only culprit. Even if you use a blue light filter or eye comfort mode, connected gadgets like phones are designed to keep you engaged and awake. Confronted with the regular ping of notifications, our brains remain wired into the world, preventing us from fully shutting down for the night.
So while you might think that scrolling through social media, streaming your favourite TV show or reading an online article is helping you wind down, it's actually more likely to be keeping you awake.
- Get yourself a real alarm clock. When you end the day by setting an alarm on your phone, you increase the temptation to look at your phone in bed.
- Stop looking at your digital devices at least two hours before your usual bedtime. This will let your body ease into tiredness, free from the stimulation of your phone or tablet.
- Experiment with alternative pre-sleep pastimes. Reading a book or working on a puzzle both allow the brain to switch off naturally, promoting restful sleep.
- Make sure the temperature is right. A cooler room helps prepare your body for sleep and decreases the chances of you waking in the night. Try beddable bedding to help regulate your body temperature.
- Don't reach for the phone if you're lying in bed awake. Rather than kicking your brain into overdrive with the addictive glow of your smartphone screen, try lying still and playing a word association game in your head. You might be surprised at how quickly this simple activity makes you feel drowsy, stops you thinking about the day’s events and lulls you gently towards sleep.
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