Television screens have given way to tablets and smartphones as the number one electronic used before bed. Where our bedrooms should be a place of rest, electronics have invaded upon this sanctuary and disrupted our sleep which is detrimental in more ways than one. This detailed article does a great job of explaining the effects of electronics on sleep. This article will also explore how we can alter our bedrooms and bedtime routine to improve the quality of sleep.
You’re not getting enough sleep
Simply put, using electronics prior to bed is encroaching on one’s sleep time. Where scientists say we should get at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep daily, mobile users who check their phones prior to bed might find themselves cutting down that amount down to as little as 5 hours of sleep per day. We get carried away when we are on our phones, losing track of time and not realizing that it is later than we think it is as the light from our phones disrupt what is known as our circadian rhythm.
Disrupting the natural cycle of the human body
As we are being distracted from sleeping at reasonable hours, our bodies are slowly being accustomed to the new hours — such as 2am or later. This is damaging as you might feel the frustration of not being able to sleep at an earlier time, especially if there is something important happening in the early morning the following day. Furthermore, the more we rely on our phones to fall asleep, the later our bedtimes become. Just imagine reading on your phone until you drift off to bed might have taken place at around 11pm, but due to the disruptive light that our phones emit, it is slowly readjusted to 2 in the morning.
The blue light of death
A new research concluded that sleep deficiency could be a cause for life-threatening diseases such as cancer and might even increase the risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Reading on your smartphone prior to bed also reduces REM sleep — an indicated of a good night’s rest. Minimal REM sleep has been linked to higher levels of stress, anxiety, fatigue and has a higher chance of developing PTSD.
Combat electronics prior to bed
Despite having ruined your sleep patterns, it is easy to readjust oneself. Set up a fixed nightly routine. Give yourself a 15 to 30 minutes of technology free time before heading to bed. This could be beneficial to your family, as you can make it into a tradition of catching up with one another and bonding prior to bed. This will release serotonin, the happiness hormone, which will in turn help you sleep better. Your bedroom should be an electronics-free zone. It does not matter what time of day it is, you should not play on your phone or laptop whilst lying on the bed as it will allow bad habits to develop, something that you want to avoid.