Your smart-phone might not be the only reason you’re losing sleep at night (here are some others), but it’s absolutely connected. In fact, your computer and cell phone use is likely having a very negative effect on both the quantity and quality of your sleep cycle. In today’s technology-saturated world, what’s a smartphone user to do? Here are three ways technology can hinder your sleep, and how you can break free.
Blue Light Hurts Your Sleep
Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone in your body that regulates your sleep cycles. When it works as it’s supposed to, it will trigger a series of events in your body to prepare you for sleep. However, a number of factors can disrupt its effects (not least of which is the presence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in your mattress). However, blue light from one of your devices is a likely culprit.
Blue light is the most intense wavelength in the visible spectrum. It is emitted by digital screens, LED lights, and other light sources, one of which is the sun. When your brain perceives blue light from your computer or smartphone late at night, it translates it as daylight. It reacts by withholding your normal production of melatonin. This backs up all of the processes that prepare your body for sleep, at least until you turn off the screen.
In a recent study on the subject of children’s sleep, researchers found that children lost up to a half-hour of sleep from watching TV, and up to a full hour from late-night phone usage. Ultimately, your use of technology at night makes it harder for you to fall asleep and sleep well.
You can increase the quality and quantity of your sleep with something as simple as dimming the lights on your screens. Don’t stop there, though — don’t let technology hurt your sleep! Dim the lights in your living space, or turn off your phone completely several hours before bed. You can also manage your melatonin and circadian cycles with extra exposure to sunlight during the daytime hours. This has been proven to enhance your sleep efficiency by over 85%.
Technology Interrupts Your Sleep
In the fast-paced, technology-driven world in which we live, missing a notification means disaster. But technology hinders your sleep cycles, just like hitting snooze on your alarm will. You may think that “five more minutes” of sleep will help you to feel rested. In reality, your body needs time to complete various stages of sleep in order to give you the benefits of a good night’s rest. The same issue arises when notifications interrupt your sleep.
When your phone wakes you up in the middle of the night, you are sacrificing cognitive ability, positive mood (up to 31%), and memory. Beyond all this, your brain has more difficulty removing amyloid proteins (linked to Alzheimer’s disease) when your sleep cycles are interrupted.
Beyond investing in a mattress that regulates your temperature (like one covered in Celliant), you can get better, uninterrupted sleep by removing all technological devices from your bedroom. Silence the notifications on your phones. Aunt Betty’s Facebook message can wait.
Video Games and Work Emails Hinder Your Sleep Cycle
Various types of technological activity will also hinder your sleep. When you play intense video games or check your work email after hours, you are introducing alertness, stress, and anxiety into your bedtime routine. Your body begins producing higher amounts of cortisol as a fight or flight response. This simultaneously reduces your melatonin production. As you can imagine, this is not a state of mind conducive to getting good sleep.
A 2016 study of college students measured their sleep in relation to their dependence on their phones. Increased anxiety related to smartphone addiction, location in the bedroom, and late-night usage consistently damaged their sleep patterns.
Take stock of how you use technology as well as how much you use it before bed. Make healthy sleep a priority. Create healthy boundaries for your work and play. Your body, your mind, and your family and friends will thank you.
Obviously, technology can hinder your sleep in numerous ways. But technology is also responsible for advances in memory foam and easy access to doctor-recommended sleep solutions like BioPosture mattresses. Instead of scrolling through social media tonight, use your phone to call your doctor or orthopedic professional. Ask them whether BioPosture is right for you. Then shut it off and get a good night’s sleep!