According to research from the National Sleep Foundation, at least 95% of adults will use some form of technology within the hour before going to bed. So, there’s no surprise that the link between technology use before bed and the amount of and quality of sleep we’re getting today is severely reduced.
But how does technology really affect our sleep?
The human body produces the hormone melatonin to help us to fall asleep, if we don’t produce enough melatonin our sleep is severely affected and we can often struggle to drop off. One main cause of a drop-in melatonin is the exposure to blue light. Blue light is emitted from most electronic devices so understandably, more exposure to blue light before bed will cause you to have a drop-in melatonin and leave you struggling to fall asleep.
Noise disrupts sleep, we’re all aware of that. It’s bangs in the night shake us awake and our alarms wake us up in the morning. So, if our phone pings in the night, its going to wake us up. We’re so conditioned to experiencing these noises when we’re awake that checking your device will then be second nature to you resulting in your sleep being disturbed.
Watching TV, playing video games, scrolling social media all of this technology focused activity stimulates the brain and when the brain is stimulated this releases adrenaline forcing you to become awake and making it almost impossible to fall asleep!
When a person becomes addicted to their device, putting it down for even a matter of minutes can feel almost impossible. That’s where it can start to take over sleep, putting the device down to go to sleep even becomes an impossibility!
Later bedtime is often a by product of sleep distractions. It becomes too easy to get lost in our devices, always telling ourselves ‘just one more minute’ or ‘just one more email’. And before long, one-minute turns into one hour, then two and so on and we’ve eaten into a chunk of our sleeping time.
How Can You Stop Tech Affecting Your Sleep?
Despite our high reliance on our phones and devices, there are ways in which you can help reduce how much your technology affects your sleeping habits.
- Ban electronic devices from the bedroom and practice Sleep Hygiene.
- Stop using any blue light emitting devices at least 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed.
- If you MUST use a phone or tablet, dim the brightness to the lowest setting or put the device in night mode.
- Stop engaging in stimulating activities using technology right before bedtime, preferably by at least an hour.
- Turn your phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’ to avoid getting notifications after bedtime.