Technology’s impact on your sleep can have detrimental effects on your health. Technology is everywhere, it has taken over every aspect of our daily lives and now it’s set its sights on our bedroom. Instead of curling up in bed with a book many people now opt for their smart phone or tablet making it hard to unwind and escape from our digital lives, but how can using technology before you go to bed impact on your sleep?
The blue light that is given off from the screens of our devices mimics daylight and stimulates you. This can cause it longer for you to fall asleep and can make your body find it harder to fall into a deep sleep. You can often find yourself waking up feeling tired, anxious, and depressed.
It is suggested that you should at least dim the brightness on your devices and make sure you are keeping them at least 14 inches from your face. This will reduce the chance that light will disrupt your normal melatonin production1.
You should always make sure to not use your devices at least an hour before bedtime.
Our devices distract us at the best of times. Whether it’s checking our emails or playing games it keeps our brain engaged and active and not thinking about winding down for sleep.
It’s hard to switch off when you’re able to be contacted 24/7. Reading that work email at 9:30pm isn’t good for relaxation. It is recommended that you should not use your digital devices an hour before sleep. This should help you distance yourself from daily stressors and potential anxiety. There’s nothing worse than worrying about the future when you should be relaxing and preparing for sleep.
Being able to switch off and rest is something that’s hard to do in the modern age but it is vital for your health. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary from the stresses of the day.
Six things to consider to create your bedroom sanctuary:
Ensure there are no distracting lights affecting your sleep. Use room darkening curtains or blinds, to allow your brain to know it’s time to shift into sleep mode. If you find getting up in the morning a problem you can use products such as a Lumie Bodyclock Light that natural mimic’s daylight to gradually wake you.
Decorate your room in a relaxed colour shade that will help you drift off. Also keeping your bedroom clean and having a made bed can create a welcoming relaxed atmosphere that will help you nod off.
Experiment with your room temperature to find out what’s right for you. Use moisture wicking natural materials to help regulate your body temperature such as bamboo, wool or organic cotton.
- Mattress, pillows, duvets and sheets
You know what you find comfortable. Make your decision based on personal preference or on your sleeping habits. Are you a side sleeper or do you tend to sleep on your back? Do you require firm or soft support? Do you suffer from any allergies or have asthma? These are all things to consider when picking a mattress, pillows, duvets and sheets. To find out how to choose the perfect pillow and duvet, why not read our buying guide?
Noise can interrupt everyone’s sleeping habits. Control the noise inside your house and keep it to a minimum. Avoid falling asleep to a TV or music as changing tones and volumes can interrupt your sleep.
Scents such as chamomile and lavender can help aid sleep. The soothing scent of lavender may decrease your blood pressure and heart rate and help you relax before sleep.
Impact of screen use in children and adolescents
Sleep is an essential part of children and adolescents development. It is vital for their learning, memory, wellbeing and health. Yet the total amount of sleep that children and adolescents get is continuing to decrease.
Children and adolescents are engaging with their screens before bed, watching exciting television shows or playing video games that stimulates their brains and makes it harder to switch off. Exposure to the blue light given off by these devices can disrupt the body’s natural daily circadian (or rhythms) by supressing the release of melatonin which is vital for maintaining and regulating our body’s sleep-wake cycle.
The use of smart phones can also affect how active children and adolescents are. Exercise is beneficial for sleep and sleep regulation and with many children and adolescents not getting enough exercise this might impact on their sleep2.
It is vital to make sleep for children and adolescents a priority you can do this by;
- Limiting screen time before bedtimeIt is recommend that children under the age of 13 should be limited to two hours per day, and children below five to less than one hour.
With a more balanced approach to screen time and the use of electronic devices, the clear benefits can be obtained while still maintaining and prioritising sleep, health and development.
Guidelines for using devices before bed
- Dim the brightness on your devices and make sure you are keeping them at least 14 inches from your face. This will reduce the chance that the light from your device will disrupt your normal melatonin production.
- You should always make sure to not use your devices at least an hour before bedtime.
- Get plenty of natural light during the day.