Most people go to bed with their phones in hand. It’s the last thing many see before getting some shut-eye and probably the first thing they look at as they wake up in the morning.
While this seems like a normal part of living with gadgets in daily life, it can have some adverse effects on your sleep and contribute to insomnia. Understanding how your phone’s continued use at bedtime can affect your sleep will help you make better decisions resulting in better sleep quality in the long run.
Here’s what the latest healthcare news has found on the impact of phones on sleep quality:
How Your Phone Changes How You Sleep
Until the last few decades, phones were solely used to communicate with other people from a distance. Today, the smartphone’s ability to perform as a pocket-sized computer allows people to accomplish things conveniently and easily in daily life. Just imagine how it was only possible to send an email through a desktop or laptop some years ago while it is now second nature to email, text, instant message, and video call on the same device.
With so much to do on your smartphone, it’s no surprise that it can intrude on your natural sleeping patterns!
The Need to Stay Awake
The things one can do on a smartphone can encourage behaviors that result from overstimulation, including compulsive checking for notifications, replying, posting, checking, and refreshing. A study has shown that this compulsive usage of smartphones is related to psychological traits, such as social interaction anxiety, need for control, and materialism. It provides instant gratification, and every notification that pops up on the screen provides the dopamine hit that everybody craves.
Given the encouragement of this behavior, it can be difficult to stop using your phone when it’s time for bed. Some people lose hours of sleep as they get caught up with endlessly scrolling on their phones. Sleep deprivation due to an overly excited mind can lead to feelings of tiredness, loss of concentration, and low moods the next day.
A Trick of the Light
In terms of human biology, artificial light emitted by these devices can disrupt what is called the circadian rhythm. Some of the best free health newsletters cite how this essentially tricks your body clock into thinking that the light source indicates daytime, prompting the need to stay awake. Getting some morning sun is important to counteract the effects of morning sleepiness and insomnia.
Changes You Can Make to Improve Sleep
Given the effects of your phone on sleep, there are changes you can actively pursue to make winding down for a good night’s rest possible.
Keep Your Phone at a Distance
If you feel uneasy placing your phone in another room overnight, then start by putting it on the opposite side of your bedroom. Remember to set your phone to Do Not Disturb so that you aren’t distracted by any messages, calls, or other notifications. This will help remedy any negative effects on your sleeping schedule.
Set a Time for No Devices and Lights Off
Set a designated time where all devices must be turned off. It helps if you can also practice lights out or at least dim the lights at the same time. Your brain will learn that it’s time to unwind with these cues.
Establish a routine spent reading, listening to music, or watching your favorite shows. If you must use a screen on your laptop, then enable night mode to reduce blue light!
Get an Old Fashioned Alarm Clock
Using your phone as an alarm clock only increases the temptation to pick it up from your nightstand and scroll through social media. Purchase a traditional alarm clock and place it on the opposite side of the room so that you are forced to get up to switch it off.
Although smartphones come with numerous benefits to make life more convenient, it’s important to remember that time off from screens is essential to wellbeing. Good sleep is one of the hallmarks of great health, and staying up all night from smartphone use can be detrimental to your health over the long term. By understanding its effect and following these tips, you can still enjoy using your phones and get the sleep you need at the same time.
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