The window of time right before sleep may seem like the perfect opportunity to catch up on your social media feeds or stream a video or two. But if you want to feel well-rested the next day, experts say you might want to ditch the device before dozing off.
Sleep disorders are common, affecting roughly 80 million Americans. And nearly 90% of adults sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Think there may be a correlation there? You may be right. Studies have found that using electronic devices around bedtime can throw off your body’s 24-hour internal clock, which may lead to poor quality of sleep.
So what is it about electronics that doesn't bode well for sleep?
Blame the blue light
The blue light pouring out of your phone, TV, computer, or tablet can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, thus suppressing the production of melatonin and delaying your normal sleep cycle. This can lead to a variety of sleep problems, ranging from moderate difficulty falling asleep to full-on sleep disorders like insomnia.
Getting a good night’s sleep can often be the difference between a productive day and one spent fighting the urge to fall asleep at your desk. So how can you prevent technology from robbing you of rest? These tips may be a good place to start.
Tips for better sleep
To get the 7-9 hours of quality sleep your body so desperately needs, experts recommend keeping electronics out of your bedtime routine.
Spending at least 30 minutes technology-free before you climb into bed.
Reading a book or magazine in bed instead of using an electronic device.
Making the bedroom a technology-free zone (no smartphones, tablets, laptops, TV, etc.).
Using your bed for sleep only -- this habit will create a connection in your mind between your bed and sleep.
For those whose smartphone is their alarm clock: try turning on your phone’s “do not disturb” function to keep texts and calls at bay while you sleep.
Using a program like f.lux, which changes the color of your computer's display to adapt to the time of day.