Sleeping with technology
What's the first thing you do when you get into bed? You're most likely included in the 95% of people, who according to the National Sleep Foundation, use some kind of electronic device such as TV, a computer, a phone or tablet, within an hour before bed time.
Sleep deprevation rates have been escalating dramatically in recent years, listed below are several ways modern technology is making an impact on how we sleep.
Blue light suppresses melatonin
Most screened devices emit a blue light, which is one of the brightest kind of lights in the visible spectrum. Spending time with this beaming into your face can scramble your circadian rhythm (your internal body clock) reducing melatonin production, a hormone which indicates to your body when it's time to sleep.
Anxiety makes it harder to sleep, and smart phones increase this stress, whether it be from watching videos, playing a game or responding to emails. Your body responds physically by releasing cortisol into the bloodstream, this essentially shuts down any melatonin production.
Electronic devices introduce a wide rane of sounds into your environment; texts, calls, beeps, chimes. almost everyone can recall a time when a noise from their phone jolted them awake. Even if you don't feel like you've awoken during the night, this can still effect your sleep pattern and leave you feeling tired the next day.
Passive vs interactive tech
The tyre of device you use can have different effects on your sleep. Interactive tech use such as playing video games or texting has been shown to be detrimental to sleep than passive use such as watching television. Though passive use is not something to brush aside, smartphone use can be especially dangerous as you tend to hold the screen a lot closer to your eyes than a television.
What to do about sleep loss?
After reading the above impacts, you may feel as if it's time to make some changes. Luckily for you there are several ways that you can alter your technology habits to help improve your sleep routine.
Dim your screen at night
Turning down brightness will help your eyes adjust and get your brain into bedtime mode. If you're reading off a screen, try reversing the type set to white text on a black background.
Cut back on social media
This is applicable for not only night time, but throughout the day. Some people can spend hours staring at their phone, so reducing the time you use it will get you into the habit of not reading for your phone, so reducing the time you use it will get you into the habit of not reading from your phone every 10 minutes. Not only will this aid with your sleep, but will also reduce your anxiety levels.
Limit late night screen time
Giving yourself allocated screen time before bed may help, that way when it comes to lying down you should try reading a book.
Remove electronics from the bedroom
This is probbly one of the best pieces of advice we can give, not only would you benefit from a peaceful lack of light or noise, it will also help educate your brain into recognising the bedroom as a place of rest.
Practice not responding to emails or texts straight away
Not rushing to respond to peoples messages will reduce your cortisol response, making you feel less anxious, so when it comes to bedtime you feel less dependant on your phone.
Do not disturb mode
Most smartphones and tablets have these now, allowing you to prevent notifications and sounds or vibrations from going off except for who you specify.
Like above, most smartphones have a night mode feature that uses a red light instead of a blue one, so overall its dimmer and less intense on your eyes.
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