It’s often hard to put cell phones down because technology has become such a huge part of our daily lives. For me, it’s hard to put my phone away at night in fear of missing a new text or notification. I always say to myself, “ill just watch one more video” and end up watching ten. The biggest issue with phone usage before bed is that technology worsens your sleep quality. There has been a lot of research done that shows that turning the T.V. and phone off before bed will help the quality of sleep for the night.
Although cellphones may make you stay awake when you should be sleeping, they do have numerous advantages. A lot of people are unaware that using their phone before bed will make them have issues actually falling asleep and their energy during the day. Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep, but the blue light released by cellphones restricts its production. Not having enough melatonin makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Technology also tricks your brain into thinking that it needs to stay awake; if you watch an exciting Facebook or read an opposing email/article, those events can make it hard to relax and settle into sleep.
A recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston discovered that using technology before bed has an even more significant effect than they thought before. The study followed two groups of 12 study participants. The first group read on an iPad for four hours before bed each night for five consecutive nights. The second group read printed books in dim light. After a few nights, the two groups switched. The iPad groups showed lower levels of melatonin, as expected. In addition, they experienced shorter restorative REM cycles, and felt sleepier the next morning even though they got eight hours of sleep.
Even if you aren’t using your phone before bed, it can still affect your sleep. Having a cellphone within reach can still disrupt slumber, due to the late night texts, emails or calls. Approximatley seventy-two percent of children ages six to seventeen sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom, which leads to getting less sleep on school nights compared with other kids. The difference adds up to almost an entire hour per night. The long term effect of this issue is sleep disruption, which can result in high blood pressure, anxiety disorder and even type 2 diabetes.
You should shut off your devices two hours before sleeping to make sure it doesn’t change your sleep cycle. If you wanted to, you could even make your bedroom technology free by keeping your phone outside of your room.
Photo from: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/does-blue-light-ruin-sleep-we-ask-an-expert/