How Does Technology Affect A Good Night's Sleep?
Our lives have become much simpler since the introduction of electronic devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Because of these devices, we can now complete many jobs like booking train tickets, listening to music, and ordering food/groceries with a single tap of the finger.
But, besides these advantages, smartphones and laptops have a few drawbacks too. One of these is the effect of electronic devices on our sleep. Here is how using phones and laptops can ruin your good night’s rest. Let’s have a look!
Why is a good night’s sleep important?
Experts recommend seven to nine hours of sound sleep every night for healthy well-being. It helps improve brain performance, boosts immune health, strengthens heart health, and ensures a positive mood.
To access these benefits of a good night’s sleep, going to bed early is essential. It is so because our body has a biological clock that works according to the pattern of daylight. It makes us naturally sleepy during the night and alert during the day.
When we sleep late at night, our biological clock gets disturbed, which affects sleep quality. This can cause sleep deprivation and lead to side effects like obesity, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and increased chances of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
How technology affects a good night’s sleep?
After we are done with our day, most of us steal some time for ourselves. We spend this time scrolling through our phones or watching the latest episode of our favourite series.
But, what you may not realise is using devices like phones or laptops prevents you from catching a sound sleep. Here is why this happens:
The purpose of winding down before falling asleep is to relax your mind and body. But, when you use electronic devices like phones to go through your emails or scroll social media, your mind is stimulated. With an alert and thinking brain, dozing off can be difficult.
2. Blue Light
Our phones, tablets, and e-readers emit blue light that affects the production of melatonin. A key sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin regulates circadian rhythm and makes us feel tired at night when it is time to fall asleep.
Although the production of melatonin is suppressed by the presence of any light, blue light has the most adverse effect. When we use phones or watch television before bedtime, the blue light from these devices slows the process of falling asleep and results in poor sleep habits.
When you watch cricket or a movie right before bedtime, instead of helping you relax, these activities add stress. Experts suggest this occurs because watching someone else in a stressful situation escalates your stress levels. And, we all know that stress can negatively affect sleep.
How can you make your bedroom technology-free?
Since technology has entwined itself in our lives so deeply, distancing yourself from the devices before bedtime may seem daunting. Here are a few tips:
1. Consider the number of devices you own
To create a technology-free environment, the first step is to take into account all the electronic devices you have. Most people nowadays have television, smartphones, laptops, tablets, video game consoles, e-readers, and smartwatches.
Figuring out which devices you have and the way you interact with them can be the first step towards removing them from the bedroom.
2. Develop an electronics-free bedtime routine
Developing a routine can encourage healthy sleep habits for children and adults. For a good night’s sleep, make a fresh bedtime routine. Replace bedtime habits like watching TV or scrolling through your phone with rituals like getting a bath or reading a book in dim light.
3. Create a dedicated space for electronics
To get rid of the electronics before bedtime, one tip is to find a new spot for them outside the bedroom. When you have your phone beside you while sleeping, the notification bell will entice you to check out that text or mail you received. It can delay your bedtime and disturb your sleep routine.
4. Have a consistent screen-off time
To prevent electronics from affecting your sleep, having a consistent screen off and lights off time can help. It might stop you from staying awake to watch that last episode and promote a regular sleep schedule.
5. Get something to read
To avoid reaching for electronic devices, it is advised to keep books or magazines on your nightstand. Having something you find pleasure in reading will keep you entertained and relaxed.
6. Don’t work in bed
Bringing your laptop to bed is not encouraged since your bed should not be used for anything besides sleep. Your brain should only associate being in bed with rest. Otherwise, when you come to the bedroom, your brain will stay alert, preventing you from falling asleep.
7. Get an alarm clock
If you cannot keep your phone away from you because you use it for setting alarms, then a basic alarm clock can replace your phone. Also, it won’t disrupt your partner’s sleep with its bright light.
8. Consider white noise machine
If you use your phone to play calming and soothing sounds to help you fall asleep, then getting a white noise machine might help. It can help you sleep without putting emails and messages at your fingertips.
9. Set boundaries with friends and family
A lot of us like to keep our phones and laptops by the bedside because we may need to respond to something urgent. However, this perceived need to be available 24/7 increases the risk of sleep disruptions.
Thus, you must inform your friends and family that you won't be accessible at night. Setting the boundary offers the freedom to keep your bedroom technology-free.
10. Other alternatives
If you cannot manage to get rid of the electronics at night time, try other alternatives like:
- Avoid using electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
- Put the devices on airplane mode and turn off notifications so your sleep is not disrupted by constant vibrations and flashing lights.
- Resist the urge to turn on your phone and slide through the notifications when you get up from sleep during the night.
- Most devices have a night mode to reduce the amount of blue light they emit. Use this.
Technical advancements in the past year may have made our lives easier. But they have also resulted in lack of sleep. So, to ensure these electronic devices do not disrupt your sleep, you should minimise their use around nighttime.