Since the advent of smartphones such as the iPhone or Galaxy S4 modern society has really shifted towards instant gratification at all times. It is estimated that over half of Americans own a smartphone of their own. Almost everyone with a smartphone is guilty of tuning out of the world around them in order to dive into the digital world of phone games, text messaging, internet browsing, and so on. Who wouldn’t you? You can literally do hundreds of different entertaining activities with one of these devices. The problem with these devices is that they are affecting our health in numerous ways including becoming a detriment to our sleep quality.
Turn Off Your Phone and Improve Your Sleep Quality
Smartphones, and tablets for that matter, have their place in societal daily routines that is for sure. Using them close to your bedtime is not one of those valuable uses. In fact, you want to do everything you can to avoid using your phone or tablet before going to sleep if you value its quality even a little bit (and you should).
The quality of a person’s sleep affects how healthy and lively they appear (especially the face), how much energy they have, what kind of mood they are in, how much of an ability to focus they have, and how effectively they can perform at their job and take on daily tasks. Why would you want to hinder your sleep quality when it could be the reason you are feeling depressed, tired, out of touch, and flat out ready to throw in the towel?
The reason smartphones and tablets hurt your sleep is because of the blue light that they emit. This blue light inhibits the production of melatonin and melatonin is responsible for how tired you feel, it is nature’s sedative. You absolutely need proper production of melatonin for a fully functional sleep/wake cycle. This powerful hormone dictates your circadian rhythm which is the master clock of your energy levels as well as moods.
We as humans were never meant to endure intense stimulation via technology before going to sleep. We were meant to slow things down as the sun goes down and slowly drift away into a restful sleep through natural fatigue. Phones and tablets are completely throwing us off in this way. If you suffer from insomnia then there is no reason for you to be staring at your phone into the night. It could be what is preventing you from sleeping in the first place.
Even if you are able to go to sleep at the same time every night after browsing your phone for some time you are still negatively affecting your sleep hygiene. Remember, this is something foreign to us in terms of what we were meant to experience with a natural sleep/wake cycle. You are literally hurling foreign stimulation at your brain just as its about to switch off. You will doze off but you won’t wake up as well as you would have otherwise, your energy levels won’t reach their potential, and your perception will be ever so slightly distorted the next day. And so the cycle continues.
Staying away from the phone or tablet is obviously a no brainer if you want to experience optimal sleep and feel the entire spectrum of benefits a thorough night of rest has to offer. You can better serve yourself by taking things one step further and eliminating your phone from your room while you sleep or completely turning it off. This will prove to protect you from unnecessary stimulation while you are actually asleep. This just isn’t possible for many of us (we need people to be able to contact us during the night in most cases if need be) so avoiding using your phone before bed will do good enough.
Technology Isn’t Always a Detriment
Staying away from stimulation before sleep is just worth doing and offers many benefits to both your sleep hygiene as well as how good you feel during the day. This isn’t just limited to smartphones but also includes TV’s and computers. While these forms of technology hurt your sleep there are actually technologies and products that can enhance one’s sleep.
Dawn simulators and wake up lights simulate the rising sun in order to help you wake up at a more natural time. It’s best for us to wake up at a time when the sun’s natural spectrum is hitting us and so these products help us achieve this when dawn doesn’t quite align correctly with our optimal sleep/wake cycle. There are also smartphone apps that can give you data about your sleep in order to improve it. There are covers for your eyes and plugs for your ears.
The point here is that there are many things available to you if you are having trouble attaining an optimal sleep schedule or are not getting fully rested. This even extends into the realm of supplements but we’d be overextending ourselves if we covered such things in this single article. The take away here is to avoid stimulation before bed and to do everything you can to achieve a great night’s sleep. You’ll be glad you did. Check out our regularly updated sleep articles to learn more helpful tips and gain a new perspective on things.