We all have those times where we lay on our beds and ready to sleep. But then couldn’t. We toss and turn, and without realizing it, an hour has already passed. So you pick up your phone, maybe to look at the time, or you try to tire yourself out. But is that the right choice?
Did you know that electronic device affects your sleepiness? How does using electronic devices at bed impact your sleep? This article explains the how and whys of it and what you should do next.
How Using Electronic Devices at Night Impacts Sleep Quality
Do you ever wonder why you’re awake in the mornings and sleepy in the evenings? There’s a hormone released from your brain responsible for that. It’s called melatonin.
Melatonin’s job is to help you transition to sleep. These hormones make you feel sleepy, relaxed, and at peace to slowly let your body rest and shift to the sleeping gears.
Now, what triggers the release of melatonin is darkness. Darkness, or lack of light, gives the go-signal to the brain to release melatonin to ready the body for sleep. And when there is light, the brain takes it as “its morning, time to wake up!” and thus would stop the release of melatonin, making you awake despite it being evening.
The part of the light that affects you the most is the blue light. What blue light, when you’re looking at a white screen? You see, white light is a combination of colors. When light is bent using a prism or through the drops of water in the clouds, it splits, and the colors appear— the rainbow. There’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. That blue within the white light is what we meant as the blue light.
That blue on the white light spectrum can easily pass through the retina. The retina then receives and transmits the signals to the brain. Then the brain blocks the melatonin release, making you feel awake.
So when you pick up your phone while in bed, checking the time, or do those last-minute things, what you’re doing is keeping yourself awake. This leads you to lose sleep, wake up tired, groggy, and not ready for the day’s work at all.
What To Do About It
The problem is, we use electronic devices for almost everything. It may be from that email that you still have to work on. Or finish that chapter from a thrilling book. Or that show where the previous episode left you hanging, so you say, “one more episode!”
So what can you do about it?
● Stop using electronic devices 30 minutes to 2 hours before sleep.
Don’t pick your phone up. Turn off the notifications. And if you can, turn the phone off. Be away from the distractions. This gives your body enough time for your melatonin to do its work and make you sleepy by the time you lie down.
● Establish a regular sleeping schedule.
In addition to putting a curfew to your electronic device is to have a regular sleep schedule. An example of this is to always sleep at 10. Do it every day, develop a habit. This helps the body get used to releasing your melatonin at a certain time. That even when you’re still using electronic devices, you may start feeling the sleepiness kick in.
● Find ways to block the blue light.
But how about when it’s not possible to stop using your devices? When you have a lot of things to do, deadlines to beat? Cram for school, finish that mountain of homework? Here’s a tip for you— filter out your blue light.
We’ve mentioned earlier how blue light can easily pass through the retina. And since out of all the light colors, it keeps you awake the most— you filter it out.
Phones nowadays have the setting “night mode” or a “blue light filter.” You can set it up with your timezone to transition to that mode when the sun sets. And if there isn’t any, there are free apps that are solely for this feature.
Thus, there will be less glare from your screen to your eyes and less light received by the brain. You’ll still feel the effects of melatonin, and tire yourself out naturally.
● Plan and design your sleeping space well.
Sleep Standards claim that the best way to improve sleep quality is to choose your beddings, pillows, and mattresses wisely. In this way, sleeping will be irresistible for you, and you won’t have any time to use your phone once you lie on your bed because you’ll fall asleep right away!
The Bottom Line
Now you know how the electronic devices can keep you from having a good night’s sleep. You already have all the reason to minimize your phone usage at night. All you need to do is find ways how to accomplish this seemingly impossible mission.