It’s the end of the day and you’re all tucked into bed, but your brain isn’t quite ready for sleep just yet. So what do you do? You grab your phone and spend the next 30 minutes checking out social media or reading the news. Although this may seem like a harmless habit, reading on your phone at night–as well as using other electronics in the bedroom–can actually have damaging effects on your sleep habits.
The blue light that your phone emits messes with your brain’s signals, telling it that it’s still time to be awake and alert. Looking directly into the light of your phone tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still mdiday, which will make it harder to fall asleep and, in turn, make you less alert the next day. The exact thing you do to relax at the end of the day is actually keeping you up longer.
While the effects of this may not be immediately noticeable, the long-term effects should be enough of a reason to kick the habit. Aside from feeling fatigued after sleepless nights, lack of sleep can cause a number of other effects down the road. These include insomnia, depression, and other health issues such as obesity or diabetes.
Thankfully, there are some things you can to do curb the effects of looking at your phone at night…
Here are our suggestions to Keep Electronics Out of the Bedroom.
- Purchase a blue-light-blocking screen for your laptop or iPhone. This thin film will warm the color of your screen, blocking sleep-inhibiting blue light. This will enable you to work on your electronic devices late at night while limiting the brain-stimulating effects of screen glare.
- Invest in some blue-light-blocking glasses. These glasses serve the same function as a light-blocking filter, but might be ideal for someone who frequently uses multiple electronic devices, like computers, television, and phones. They even come in sleek, sporty designs–they’re so cool that Bono even wears them!
- Put a curfew on electronics. This shoots two birds with one stone–not only are you limiting your exposure to the glow from electronics, but you are removing the temptation to stay up into the wee hours of the night surfing the Internet. (For more details on how electronics disrupt sleep, see our post, 3 Good Reasons to Keep Your Phone Out of the Bedroom.) By setting a definite time past which electronics are stricly banned–we recommend an hour before your bedtime–you are reserving your bedrrom and nightime routine for relaxation and sleep.
- Keep a book by your bedside. Fight the temptation to distract yourself with technology by providing a more traditional diversion–in the form of a good book! A bedtime read can be a great way to quiet your mind and settle down. In fact, you might even find yourself nodding off mid-page! For some recommendations, check out our list of the top sleep and welness books of 2014.
- Recognize the bedroom as a place of rest, relaxation, and revitalization. Your bed should be reserved for resting, cuddling, and sleeping. It should be a place of calmness and pleasure. By setting aside your bedroom for its indended purposes, you’ll not only improve your sleep routine, but you’ll create a quite place for yourself free of the demands of work or the distractions of the digital world.
So tonight, put down the phone, pick up a book, and get on your way to deeper, healthier sleep!
If you are concerned that you or a loved one is suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness, take our sleepiness quiz and discuss your results with your doctor:
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