December 15, 2017. By Courtney Summa:
Technology has become a huge part of our lives, making things in life a bit more convenient. With such easy and immediate access to communication, however, most of us are guilty of sending one last email or scrolling through social media just as we lay down in bed for the night. According to the National Sleep Foundation about 95% of people use some type of technology during the hour before they go to bed. You probably wouldn’t think twice about putting your cellphone or tablet on your nightstand, or watching a little TV before falling asleep, but this habit can be detrimental to your sleep pattern.
One way overusing technology affects your sleep is by suppressing melatonin. The blue light given off by our various gadgets, tablets, cellphones, TVs, etc., signals to the brain that it is still daylight, which reduces the amount of melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep/wake cycles. Reducing the amount of melatonin makes it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. The daylight signal from the blue light causes the brain to be alert rather than restful. Engaging your mind with emails, social media, or surfing the web makes it more difficult for your brain to relax into a slumber; instead the engagement tricks you into staying awake.
Having you cell phone or tablet by your bedside can also impair relaxation causing you to wake up out of a deep sleep. Thanks to the numerous notifications from various apps, emails, texts, and calendar reminders, we are constantly on guard fearing that important announcements will be missed. With these sometimes constant chimes ringing by your bedside, it makes it difficult to get a deep, full night sleep. Even if you don’t answer the notification, your brain will actually wonder what your phone is buzzing about.
Technology doesn’t affect everyone’s sleep pattern in the same way, but here are some tips that may increase your chances of a better night sleep:
- Don’t bring your cellphone into the bedroom. Charge your phone somewhere else – create a specific place for a charging station, other than your nightstand.
- Use a real alarm clock to get up in the morning, not your cellphone.
- Establish a new nighttime routine that excludes technology, TV, cellphone, and/or tablet, an hour to an hour and a half before bed.
Sleep is a vital part to our health. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, 7-9 for young adults, and even more for small children. Perhaps recognizing the potential negative affect technology can have on your sleep can be the answer to your morning exhaustion. At the very least following the tips above could increase your chance of getting a deeper, better night’s sleep.
(Infographic courtesy of SleepyBliss.com)>