The Effects of Technology on your Sleep

woman using the cellphone on the bed

Ever fallen asleep while texting or checking social media on your phone? Or maybe you are notorious for checking your email well into the night. Given how addictive our phones and other electronic can be, this is certainly something that has happened to many of us, it’s just too easy!

As tempting as it may be, this type of activity is very strongly discouraged by many sleep experts for many reasons.

Why can’t I seem to put the phone away at bedtime?

That bright light on many smartphones and tablets (also known as a blue light) on most devices can be known to increase your alertness and overstimulate you, making it very difficult to fall asleep. Blue light can also block the release of a sleep hormone called melatonin, which is what signals your brain that it’s time to go to sleep.

Also, ever go down the “rabbit hole” of playing on your phone? Yes, many people are likely to become too wrapped up in whatever they are doing with their devices, whether it be playing a game, watching a video, answering work emails or simply scrolling on social media, keeping them up way past their bedtime.  

How to break the scrolling habit

It is generally recommended that any use of electronic devices is stopped at least 2 hours before bedtime. However, in a world where we are so reliant on technology for many aspects of our lives, this may not always be possible. Here are a few other tips to not let technology affect your sleep.

  • Try putting your phone or tablet in another room overnight, thus resisting the temptation to pick it up.  
  • If you absolutely need your phone with you in the same room, turn it to silent before going to sleep, to avoid any incoming notifications waking you up (even the vibrate mode can be very loud and distracting).
  • Try getting into the habit of reading before bedtime. Even using an e-reader is fine as they typically do not emit the blue light that can negatively affect your sleep.
  • If you have a TV in your room, be mindful of how much “binge watching” you do before bedtime and don’t fall asleep with the TV on.

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