- Posted by Jon Harju
- On July 9, 2020
Our smartphones are typically at our side every waking hour — so much so that a quick scroll on Instagram or a peek at email is often the first and last thing we do each day.
Sound familiar? Many of us struggle to fall asleep because our phones are part of our bedtime ritual, stimulating our brains right up until (or after) our head hits the pillow. The mind is kept active and alert for up to two hours from the last moment we glance at our smartphones, and may lead to experiencing nighttime restlessness or insomnia. It’s not surprising that “approximately 35 to 49 % of the US adult population have complaints of problems falling asleep or have daytime sleepiness,” according to research.
The American Sleep Association adds to the argument against bringing your phone to bed: “Your tech habits at bedtime may be preventing you from falling asleep. The light from your tech gadgets tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime, so the production of melatonin is decreased. Less Melatonin may make falling asleep more difficult.” Good sleep (approx. 7 to 9 hours) is a basic need for a healthy mind and body. Without the proper amount, you put your wellbeing at risk. In Ariana Huffington’s TED talk she said: “Two and a half years ago, I fainted from exhaustion. I hit my head on my desk. I broke my cheekbone, I got five stitches on my right eye. And I began the journey of rediscovering the value of sleep. And in the course of that, I studied; I met with medical doctors, scientists, and I’m here to tell you that the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.”
Do you want more sleep? Here are 3 changes you need to make:
- Buy an alarm clock A common excuse for sleeping next to the smartphone phone is it doubles as an alarm clock, making it too tempting for the phone to be the first and last part of your day. Get rid of the excuse and by an actual alarm clock.
- Check your smartphone at the bedroom door Make the bedroom a phone-free environment so you can get a healthy start and finish to your days. Designate a place in your house (kitchen counter, office desk) that your phone charges for those 7-9 hours while you yourself recharge.
- Create a new bedtime routine It’s time to combat that overstimulation and restlessness by not using your phone for at least an hour before you fall asleep. Instead, try replacing that time spent scrolling by winding down to prepare for a quality sleep: reading a book or magazine (not on your phone), take a warm shower, or practice mindfulness.
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