How does your smart phone affect the way you sleep…
Its time to blame the smartphone.
It’s 1:30am.. your eyes are bloodshot, you’ve tossed and turned enough to twist the bed sheets up into the “world’s tightest bed burrito.” Your body’s begging for sleep, but your mind refuses to turn off, rewinding the images of Instagram, Facebook, and the news articles you have consumed just before nestling in for sleep.
Want to get frustrated? Then vent your frustration out on the glowing screens that is STEALING your nighttime slumber.
We all enjoy a good movie, some YouTube to catch up on, and even scrolling through the headlines of the day… we get it. Here at The F.A.M. Project, many of our articles place an emphasis on the fact that we recognize smartphones, computers, and devices in general exist in our world today and are not going anywhere. We want to present ideas on how to use your devices SMARTER. In this article, we are gonna talk about a more definitive hard line to be considered when talking about getting good, restful sleep for you and your family.
It can be easy to spend the last few moments of your day sitting in front of a screen to do what we think is “winding down.” But, we have to recognize this is a myth. As much as we think it does not effect our sleep, the facts of how our brain responds to stimulation cannot be ignored. Using our phones or devices 30 minutes prior to bed time has a profound impact on our ability to fall into a restful state of sleep, and even enter in to that blissful place that we call REM sleep. You know REM, that glorious deep sleep where the entire world is shut out, and your body rejuvenates at an unthinkable rate.
So, YES, we are saying that at a minimum, you should have all electronics turned off 30 minutes prior to sleep, but an even better suggestion would be 60 or even 90 minutes.
Let’s jump real quick to some super-science-talk and discuss your circadian rhythm – or better known as your internal clock working system. Whenever you use a device, a screen, or even have the TV on, these electronics emit a shortwave length called “blue-light” and this light is actually INTERFERING with your body and its chemistry. As the sun sets, and evening begins to show off its beautiful star-studded display, your body recognizes the lack of light and begins to internally wind down, while also releasing a sweet little sleepy time chemical called melatonin. The use of such devices late in the evening calls to an alertness that your brain responds to and that response makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Not only does this light and stimulation make for falling asleep difficult, but is also delays when your body can actually enter into REM sleep, and even cuts down on the amount of REM you are receiving – thus causing a groggy and unalert feeling in the morning time, until you can get your internal motor running again. Oh! and we’re not even going into the long-term issues that you will encounter when faced with not getting solid sleep on a regular basis.
Ok, ok… we bet at this point you just want to get to some answers, so let’s get to it!
One superior substitute is to READ a book by a lamp, no – not bright white lights, no way – keep it chill. Grab a book and get lost in the story. This will wind down your mind and body naturally, and the light surrounding you is not shortwave blue light, which is stimulating your mind differently. When you begin to feel that sleepiness setting it, close the book, turn off the lamp, and refuse the habit of checking your phone one last time. Curl up, and slip deep into your well deserved nightly slumber.
Another solution is – Try to get on a regular sleep schedule of going to bed and waking up at the same time. This can be tricky, but the discipline is well worth the payoff! You will be aiding your body to get into a natural rhythm and before you know it your own body will adjust and adapt.
Here is one more suggestion to try out… Physical Activity! There is solid evidence out there that exercise does, in fact, help you to be able to fall asleep quicker and it also improves the quality of your sleep. So find something you enjoy doing that will get your heart rate up and do that! (Just make sure its not too late in the day – because it may do the opposite!)
You and your family needs rest. And, you needs it greater than one last swipe on your phone.
Enjoy counting far less sheep as you thank this article and The F.A.M. project for getting a better night sleep!