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It’s a nighttime habit that many Americans have – you go to bed, get comfortable, and start doing stuff on your phone. Or, you’re possibly curled up in bed to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show. Whatever it might be, you might not be aware of the negative impact of electronics on your sleep.
According to many sleep experts, you really should only be doing two things in bed – sleeping and, well, something of a more adult nature. Those who aren’t adults should only be doing one thing in bed and that’s sleeping.
Contrary to what you might think, electronic devices are not a means to help you fall asleep faster. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Playing on your phone or watching TV in bed can keep you from falling asleep and getting quality sleep throughout the night.
Being on Your Phone Before Bed
This one’s a no-brainer, right? You can’t fall asleep, or you’re just not ready to go to sleep, so you grab your phone. You scroll through all of your social media platforms, you might respond to a text, or even just play a few games on the app you downloaded earlier.
The tricky thing about sleep is you want your brain to power down for the night. Your body produces a hormone called melatonin that tells your brain it’s time to go to sleep. In a dark room with little to no stimuli, the melatonin does the trick and you fall asleep. Electronic devices make this a little more complicated.
Impact of Blue Light on Your Sleep Patterns
To start, devices put off what is known as blue light. Blue light can be emitted from electronics, light bulbs, tablets, etc. However, the most common emitter of blue light is the sun, which is how your brain is tricked. When you see this blue light, your brain thinks that it’s still sunny outside and, therefore, not time to go to sleep. Your body doesn’t produce melatonin, and you end up staying awake.
Some electronic devices now come with blue light filters you can turn on and off, but the information your brain is taking in from your device is keeping it from hitting the “Sleep” button. The best thing to do is put your phone or table down for the night and forget about it until the morning. If you feel like you have to read, do it by reading an actual book and not one from your tablet.
Watching TV Before You Go to Sleep
It’s hard to resist getting warm and comfy in bed and watching a little TV before going to sleep. The problem is, how often do you just watch a little TV when you’re in bed? Can you honestly say you haven’t binged an entire season of a show before falling asleep because you kept telling yourself “Just one more episode, then I’m turning it off?”
Sure, the show might be that compelling, or it could be your television is what’s really keeping you awake and not the plot of the show. Electronics are meant to stimulate your brain. When it’s time to go to sleep, your brain wants as little stimuli as possible.
It might be best, overall, to create an electronics-free zone in your bedroom (save for your phone – on the charger only – and an alarm clock). The fewer choices you have for screen time, the better your overall sleep will be.
How Using Electronics at Night Impacts Your Children
It’s hard to go anywhere today and not see a child without some sort of electronic device in their hands, whether it be a phone or tablet. They might be watching a show or playing a game, but they are completely engrossed in what’s in front of them.
There’s a good chance it’s hard to get them to turn that enthusiasm off – as well as the device – when it’s time to go to bed. As dangerous as using electronics at night are to adults over time, it’s even more dangerous for children.
A recent study found that 62 percent of adolescents took their phones to bed with them, 37 percent texted after “lights out,” and 1 out of 12 were woken by a text in the middle of the night at least two or more times each week. The study established a foundation of declining sleep quality and quantity in adolescents who used their phones at bedtime or after “lights out.”
It is imperative for adolescents and teens to get enough sleep. Lack of quality sleep can lead not only to poor grades and questionable decisions, it can also lead to poor health. Without proper sleep, your child might run the risk of having developmental issues.
Say No to Electronics and Yes to Great Sleep
This isn’t something that will become a bedtime routine overnight. Just like with any habit, you work on it over time. Eventually, you’ll want to say no to electronics before going to bed and yes to getting great sleep.
Getting great sleep becomes even easier when you’re sleeping on a mattress and pillow that are right for you. To find out how the Sleep Experts at Mattress Warehouse can help you get the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had, visit your local store today.