Nearly four out of 10 Americans use their phone to fall asleep. This was especially common in adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 29. Six out of 10 respondents said they used a laptop or desktop computer within an hour after going to bed.
It might be tempting to check your phone or computer before bed. However, studies have shown that these devices can disrupt sleep by suppressing the production of melatonin. This natural hormone is released in the evening to make you feel more tired and ready to sleep.
So remember when your laying in your big comfortable bed not to spent to much time looking at a screen. If you do, you’re not going to get the rest you need.
Healthy adults follow a 24-hour cycle 3. Your body releases cortisol when the sun rises, which is a hormone that makes it feel alert and awake. The body releases melatonin as the daylight goes down, which produces feelings of sleepiness.
Blue light is also known as electronic back-lit devices such as cell phones, tablets and readers. Fluorescent, LED lights 4, emit blue light. This has been proven to decrease or delay the natural production of melatonin and reduce sleepiness. Blue light can also decrease the time spent in rapid-eye-movement (REM), two stages of sleep that are crucial for cognitive function.
Children who use electronic devices that emit blue lights are especially vulnerable 5. Numerous studies have shown a correlation between the use of electronic devices before bed and an increase in sleep latency (the time it takes for someone to fall asleep). Children who use these devices at night are less likely to get enough quality sleep and feel tired the next morning.
Some types of household light 6 may also have an effect on melatonin production at night. A study showed that bright lighting in bedrooms can reduce melatonin production by up to 90 minutes when compared with dim lighting.
Blue light can cause retina damage 7. Your circadian rhythm is not affected by blue light. However, orange, yellow, or red light can have little to no effect. For nighttime reading, dim light with one of these colors can be considered ideal. E-readers such as the Nook and Kindle emit blue light but not in the same way as other electronic devices. You can dim the display if you prefer to use an E-reader like a Nook or Kindle.
In the hours before bedtime, we recommend that you avoid using smartphones and other blue-light-emitting devices such as computers. This may not be possible for some people, like those who study or work at night. These strategies will help you to sleep better and longer if you have to use one of the devices at night.
- Use Nighttime mode: Many mobile phones, tablets, and other electronic devices have a nighttime mode that makes it easier to see before going to bed. One study found that the most effective nighttime mode 10 reduces blue light emissions and lowers the brightness setting. If your device doesn’t automatically adjust brightness for nighttime, you should dim the display manually.
- Reduce Your Daytime and Nighttime Electronics Utilization: Long-term use of electronic devices for more than 9 hours can have a negative impact on sleep, particularly among teenagers. These effects can include shorter sleep duration, a longer onset time, and more sleep deficiencies. Talk to your teens about excessive electronic exposure. If necessary, you can impose limits on their daily use.
- Create a Relaxing Bedtime Schedule: Healthy sleep requires a regular bedtime that allows for adequate rest. Relaxing activities should be done before going to bed.
- Make your Bedroom a Screen-Free Zone: While many people like to have a TV in their bedroom, it is best to avoid watching TV before going to bed. We recommend that you remove all electronic devices from your bedroom and encourage your children to do so.
- Keep your bedroom lights low or dim: Light intensity is measured using a unit called lux. Studies have shown that indoor lighting levels above 100 lux can reduce melatonin production, and disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Your melatonin production is affected by indoor lighting that is dimmer.
Remember, it’s not uncommon to reach for your phone just before bedtime, but this habit may be doing more harm than good.
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