Electronics and Sleep

We fall asleep to the soothing sounds of late night television shows. We watch one, or two, or 6 episodes of our new favorite Netflix show before bed. We can’t sleep so we bask in the white glow of our phones as we scroll through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Screens and electronic devices are an integral part of our daily lives. So much so that many of us habitually use electronic devices before bed.

We consider using electronic devices before bed part of a normal routine, and think nothing of cuddling up next to our phones as we fall asleep. However, research suggests that electronics can harm the quality of our sleep, decrease the amount of sleep we get, and lead to other health problems.

A National Sleep Foundation study found that almost 95% of people surveyed use electronic devices within one hour of going to bed. People under 30 were most likely to use electronic devices before bed, especially those between the ages of 13 and 18.

Why is it bad to use electronic devices before bed?

Light is the biggest culprit. The light emitted from electronic devices can affect the brains production of melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep. Ringtones and vibrations from phones, and noises from other electronics throughout the night can also disrupt sleep. When you combine these factors, getting a good night’s sleep becomes a real challenge.

How can you improve the quality of your sleep?

We know that sleep is incredibly important to our health. That’s why you should make efforts to get ample sleep, and good quality sleep at that. Adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Screens and electronic devices are such a big part of our daily lives. Many of us stare at screens while we work, while we do homework, while we decompress after a long day, and even while we socialize. It can be difficult to deprive ourselves of electronics without making a conscious effort to do so.

So make a point to put away the electronics before bed. Avoid using electronic devices 2 hours before you plan on going to bed to increase your sleep quality. There are other ways to improve your quality of sleep, as well.

  • Exercise and stay physically active during the day.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon or before bed.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule (avoid late nights and sleeping in).
  • Make sure your bedroom is comfortable.
  • Avoid excessive napping during the day.
  • Look for ways to manage stress.

Of course, your sleep troubles might not be a result of late night television or Facebook feeds. If you’re concerned about sleeping problems, or suspect you have a sleeping disorder, contact a medical professional.