How To Stop Screens From Stealing Your Sleep

September 5, 2014
sleep, sleep and technology, sleeplessness, sleep problems

Not only we stay up late, glued to our computers, phones or TV, but once we get to bed we find that falling asleep is not that easy. Our brains keep on running at high speed, going over everything that we’ve just seen and designing our plan for the next day.

I used to blame the horror scenes from the news for my sleeplessness. I’d toss and turn for hours and when I finally fell asleep, I’d have nightmares about what I’d seen. I stopped watching the news and the nightmares were gone, but falling asleep didn’t get any easier. Then I recently found out that screens affect us not only on psychological, but even on chemical level. The screen is a source of light and when you’re looking at it, the body gets the message that it’s day time – time to stay awake. Your brain suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the hormone we need to relax and get ready for sleep. The most melatonin-suppressive light is the blue light, which is what our devices usually emit.

How can you reclaim your sleep?

  • Don’t use technology in the last hour or two before going to bed. Give your body and your mind the opportunity to wind down.
  • Use f.lux, a program designed to adjust the brightness and the colour of your screen depending on the time of the day. This software makes your screen look like sunlight during the day and it displays warmer colours at night.
  • Make your bedroom a screen-free zone. It can be hard to resist checking your iPhone one last time, if it’s right there next to you.
  • Monitor your sleep. You can make it a conscious focus to pay attention to your habits or you can use a monitor like Fitbit to tell you exactly how much sleep you’re getting. Sometimes, just being more aware gives you the motivation to change.
  • If you’re finding that the promise of a good night’s sleep is not enough to drag you away from your screen, enlist someone in your family to help you or a friend to call you at a certain time to give you a nudge.

Image by JESHOOTS via Pixabay.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

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