If scrolling through social media or checking your email on your phone is part of your nightly wind-down routine, you may be sacrificing your sleep quality. In a survey conducted by Mattress Advisor, respondents who said they did not use phone apps before bed were the only ones who rated their sleep quality a perfect five out of five. So why does using your phone at night cause harm to your sleep?
While it’s a common habit, using electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and TVs prevents our brains from releasing melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep. The blue-and-white light emitted from these devices actually send signals to your brain to become alert – which is the opposite of what you want to happen when you’re trying to relax and fall asleep.
Aside from making it harder to fall asleep, using your phone too close to bedtime can actually make it harder to stay asleep once you do finally get into the rhythm. As you can probably imagine, waking up feeling groggy and tired is a real possibility as well.
What are some things you can do to avoid phones from ruining your sleep?
- Put your phone away at least 30 minutes before bed. This will give your mind and body time to relax and wind down without the disturbance of light.
- Find a new bedtime hobby. If using your phone is part of your nightly routine, look for other tasks to replace that void. Try reading a book, taking a bath or listening to soothing music.
- Set goals for yourself. A habit like this can be hard to break, but try having fun with it and rewarding yourself for a job well done. For example, if you go five nights without using your phone before bed, treat yourself to a nice dinner. You might also realize the benefits of not using your phone more quickly.
- Fill your day with more activity. If you sit at a desk all day long, and then come home and sit on the couch, feeling tired at night might be a challenge. Try working exercise – even if it’s a walk – into your early evening routine. You might find that your body is more naturally tired at the end of the day and you don’t need to rely on reaching for your phone to help you drift off.
While breaking the phone habit can be difficult, just think about the benefits it can have on your health and well-being. Waking up feeling well-rested and refreshed is a perk that everyone can appreciate.