Using A Device Before Bed is Affecting Your Sleep: True or False?

At the end of every day, as I get settled into my bed, I have a nightly routine of checking all my social media accounts via my phone. Doing this makes me feel more caught up and like I am aware of everything going on. After, I watch Netflix on my computer, even if I only watch a few minutes or so, I still do it every night because it has becoming comforting for me.

I’ve heard that using your phone or any other device before bed can have effect on one’s sleep but I think it’s a common thing that many teenagers and college students are in the habit of doing. When doing research for this post I was surprised to see just how bad using a screen before bed can be.

Recent studies have come to show that using a gadget before going to bed is not only affecting your sleep for that night, but also making the following day more difficult. One can feel much more sleepy and almost “zombie-like” during the day because of their sleep quality being so poor. In one specific study done, at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, researchers found that phones are not the only thing causing these effects. Basically, anything with a bright screen, such as a kindle, iPad, or television, can be causing negative effects in the device-users life.

This study also shed light on some more major effects of using a screen before bed because poor sleep can be linked to diseases such as obesity and diabetes. When using a device before bed, one faces a greater risk of messing up the sleep pattern they need to function properly. This is primarily because of the brightness of the light particles which tell your brain to stay awake.


The light messes with your level of melatonin. Melatonin is like a clock inside your body that is in charge of your sleep cycles and patterns. When your sleep is being affected, so is your memory and ability to pay attention. This is obviously something that could be detrimental to college students because a good memory and attention span are two very important skills to have during class.

Now, if I were to show this study to every student at Penn State who uses their phone, tablet, or computer before bed, I don’t know how many people would actually change their routine. Checking social media sites has become an exercise that the majority of people practice, especially before bed.

Researchers say that the best way to steer clear of getting poor sleep is to read a book before bed – the physical book, not a kindle or iBook. If you are not a reader, it is suggested that you stay off your devices a full hour before going to sleep. This will make for a better night’s sleep and an improved day the following day.



6 thoughts on “Using A Device Before Bed is Affecting Your Sleep: True or False?

  1. Benjamin R Tuohey

    I definitely agree with everything that is in this post. I find this post very relevant and interesting. I always find myself going up to bed when I am tired and then sitting on my phone for hours just scrolling around and then I can’t fall asleep I definitely feel that my phone infringes upon my ability to sleep.

  2. Melissa Lee

    My doctor always told me to never play with my phone before bed. Not only can playing with your phone hamper your sleep it can strain your vision. After looking at a bright screen in a dark room I can feel my eyes getting really tired. In this article it is pointed out that reading a book before bed might be healthier. There was a study done where participants read books on iPads and then switched over to reading paper books. It was reported that the readers on the iPads took longer to fall asleep and they were more tired the following day. This goes to show that using a device before bed can be dangerous to us. This becomes a bigger problem as technology continues to advance.

  3. Katherine Guerney

    I can relate to what you go through every night because I always have to watch Netflix right before I go to sleep. My parents always tell me that bright screens can make you have trouble going to sleep, but I didn’t know that it could have a carry over effect into the morning . I think it would be cool to see how damaging bright lights really are to sleep. For example if you compared the sleep effectiveness of a group of people that used their phone every night and a group who went straight to bed by giving them some sort of test in the morning that would measure their memory and attention.

  4. gcm5149

    My mom always told me to get off my phone and stop playing video games late at night because it will be harder for me to fall asleep. Of course, I never listened. After reading this, I think I agree with her reasoning and definitely will take this idea into account when i’m preparing for bed. Here’s an article about how video games can change your sleep and affect it too.

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