Do you check your social media one last time before heading to bed, the light of your smartphone screen shining brightly in your dark room? Or do you enjoy cozying up with your laptop at night to watch the latest episode of your favorite television series?
Chances are you are guilty of indulging in one or another electronic activity in the late evening hours. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 90% of Americans admit to using some sort of technology during the hour before bed.
Technology is playing a bigger role in our everyday lives — from our work environment to the home we are completely surrounded by it — and it’s affecting our sleep.
How Technology Affects Your Sleep
From TVS and laptops to smartphones and ereaders, research has repeatedly shown that electronic device use at night has dramatically negative outcomes for our sleeping patterns and the quality of our sleep.
There are 3 main ways that your late-night tech use is making it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep:
- They suppress melatonin
The screens on our electronic devices emit light in a particular range — called blue light — that has been scientifically proven to suppress the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin is one of the key players in regulating our circadian rhythms and sleep/wake schedules; and insufficient levels at night make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- They’re stimulating
While you may not feel you’re doing much, our electronic devices are both mentally and physically stimulating. By keeping your brain actively engaged, especially with content that is emotionally arousing (both positively or negatively,) your late-night tech use can trigger the release of hormones such as adrenaline.
- They wake you up
There’s no denying that in this day and age many of us have formed the habit of immediately checking our phones when a notification sounds. Since your brain still registers environmental noises during the majority of the stages of sleep, this habitual practice will easily result in you waking up — even if you don’t recall hearing your phone go off.
Thankfully, with a little self-control you can counteract the impact of technology. Implementing these 12 steps will help you to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up feeling refreshed.