Smart phones and other electronics are becoming essential parts of our everyday lives. Many times, before we even realize it, we’ve been scrolling through emails, social media, or engaging in group texts and an hour has gone by. While staying connected helps many people work remotely in companies they love and keep family members connected who are states away, staying on our phones day in and day out does have some negative consequences. One of which is how it affects our sleep. Screen exposure, especially around bedtime, has been shown to be associated with lower quality of sleep.
Most of the electronics we use today, such as cell phones, tablets, and televisions emit a type of light called blue light. This blue light restricts our brains from releasing the hormone, melatonin, which influences our body’s circadian rhythm and tells our bodies when it is time to go to sleep. In order to avoid this disruption in rhythm, it’s a good idea to stop using electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed. If you are one to send last minute text messages or emails before going to sleep, you should check to see if your phone has a “night mode” setting. Many smartphones today have been updated to let you adjust the light emitted from your phone to a warmer, yellow colored light. This yellow light will help prevent melatonin production from being suppressed, meaning you will get a better night’s rest.
Also, if you tend to wake up during the night, try to resist the urge to reach for your phone. Even though the night mode may help, it’s still better to try to a simple meditation such as counting your breaths or writing down your worries to help your mind calm back down to sleep.
If you decide to stop the screen time before bed, a great alternative is to stretch! Doing light stretches before bed can help you relax and get rid of the tension built up during the day. It can be as simple as touching your toes or lifting and resting the back of your legs against the wall. Your mind and body will thank you the next morning.
How much sleep do we really need?
Everybody’s sleep requirements vary depending on multiple factors, but on average, adults function best when they get around 7-9 hours of sleep. If you notice yourself feeling tired or sleepy on a typical day, you may need to add an extra hour of sleep to your schedule.
National Sleep Foundation “Electronics in the Bedroom” https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/electronics-the-bedroom