What’s the last thing you do before you sleep? Is it browsing social media or watching TikTok or YouTube videos? Well, you may want to rethink that habit of yours.
While many of us think that using your phone in bed helps you fall asleep, studies say the opposite. The use of technology before bedtime has been associated with poor sleeping patterns and sleep quality.
If you think you’re an exception to this rule, think again. The signs of sleep deprivation are not always as obvious. Sometimes, it’s as subtle as having low energy during the day, forgetting a few things, or a slight headache. But regardless of how mild the signs and symptoms are, not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of diabetes, heart problems, or obesity.
In this article, let’s take a closer look at how technology impacts our sleep quality and what we can do about it.
How Technology Can Affect Us at Bedtime
Here are the ways technology is sabotaging our sleep:
The use of cellphones, televisions, laptops, or tablets before bedtime is a big no-no because of one simple reason—blue light.
This is the type of light that makes up our gadgets’ bright screens, and it has been associated with delayed sleep. The Sleep Health Foundation claims that the use of bright screens at night can delay our body clock by 1.5 hours.
Why is this so? It was discovered that blue light interferes with the body’s melatonin production, the chemical that facilitates sleep. When our eyes are exposed to blue light, it sends wrong signals to our brains, making it think that it’s still daytime. As a result, melatonin secretion is impeded. Without enough levels of melatonin in the body, it will be difficult for us to fall asleep.
When you browse social media or watch Tiktok and YouTube videos, your mind is filled with information. While being informed is a good thing, there are times when it will do more harm than good. One of those times is before bedtime.
To fall asleep better and faster, you need to relax and free your mind. Unfortunately, using technology does the opposite. It fills your mind with the information you don’t really need at the moment, resulting in information overload.
This may result in too much brain function, which can keep you up all night.
Even if you don’t use your phone at bedtime, just having it besides you can still be disastrous for your sleep. That’s because it creates unexpected noise through beeps and notifications whenever you receive e-mails, text messages, or comments, and likes.
This continuous beeping may prevent you from falling asleep or disrupt your sleep.
According to studies, the overuse of social media and technology stimulates the brain the same way other addictive behaviors do, making it hard for you to quit ahead of time. This is most especially true for younger people who are prone to making decisions based on their impulses.
As a result, they continuously use technology even if it’s already damaging their sleep. The long-term exposure to technology or social media before bedtime will ultimately lead to insomnia.
What to Do About It
Fortunately for you, there are lots of things that we can do to minimize the impact of technology on our sleep. Here are some of them:
Turn it off
If possible, turn off all devices so you can get rid of the distractions. If that’s too much for you, you can switch it to silent mode instead.
Keep TV and other devices out of your bedroom
As much as possible, your bedroom should only be for two things—sleep and sex. To ensure this, don’t put the TV in your room. You should also ban the use of all devices or leave your gadgets outside of your bedroom so you won’t be tempted to use them.
In this way, your brain will associate your bedroom with rest, making it easy for you to fall asleep once you enter your room.
Make your sleeping environment as irresistible as possible
If it’s difficult for you to avoid social media, the next best thing that you can do is create a comfortable sleeping environment so you can easily fall asleep. This is based on the principle that the faster you fall asleep, the lesser chances you’ll use your phone at night.
There are lots of things that you can do to turn your bedroom into a comfortable, dark, and quitter sleep sanctuary. To do this, you should use the right mattress, upgrade the best pillow, diffuse calming scents, and dim the lights.
The Bottom Line
Technology is beneficial for us, but only if it’s used in moderation. You must regulate your use of technology, especially before bedtime, to enjoy a night of deep and restful slumber.