Your Phone and Your Sleep
One of the easiest ways to get better sleep habits is to prioritize your sleep over your phone or devices!
Shut off all electronics at least 1 hour before sleep. This especially means cell phones, which nearly two-thirds of all people ages 18–64 have within reach while they’re in bed.
Why should you do that? I'll tell you why.
Screens hurt your sleep
- Blue light. The light emitted from smartphones and e-reader tablets is known to significantly suppress your body’s production of melatonin, a key sleep-inducing hormone. Melatonin helps regulate our circadian cycle by making us tired when it’s time for us to sleep. The presence of any light suppresses melatonin, but blue light most of all, causing us to doze off slower and lose sleep as a result.
- The fewer things we have on our minds at night, the faster we can fall asleep. Watching TV, playing games on your cell or scrolling through social media stimulates your mind, keeping it alert instead of calming down in preparation for sleep.
- As relaxing as watching TV might seem, research shows that watching someone else’s stressful situation increases our own stress levels as well. And stress is one of the leading culprits for a poor night’s sleep.
What can you do instead?
If you shut off electronics an hour before sleep, chances are you’re still pretty alert and awake. So how do you occupy yourself in a way that’s healthy before sleep?
Here are some ideas:
- Read a book. While some books have stressful plots, one study suggests that reading silently for just six minutes can lower stress by up to 68%, more than listening to music (61%), drinking a cup of decaffeinated tea (54%) or walking (42%).
- Jot down your thoughts. If you’ve got a lot on your mind at night, the best thing to do is write it down. That way, your mind no longer has to remember them all, so it can relax and prepare for sleep.
- Take a shower/bath. On top of being quite relaxing, taking a shower or bath helps lower your body temperature when you get out, which can help you fall asleep faster.
- Resist the urge to snack. It’s best to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime and avoid heavy meals at night. That way, most sugars and stimulants have time to wear off and your body’s digestive system isn’t still actively trying to break down your latest meal, which can definitely keep you awake.