How Electronics Affect Sleep And What To Do About It
In This Article, We Are Going To Know How Electronics Affect Sleep And What To Do About It.
In an age where we are constantly on our phones or indulging in our personal electronics, there appears to be a growing trend (and it’s not a good one). Did you know that using your electronics can affect your sleep patterns? That’s right, you could be on your phone like normal and struggle to sleep at any point during the night.
Needless to say, poor sleep can lead to a not so great day at the office. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation can also be the recipe for some long-term health issues down the road. While we can talk about sleep and its health benefits, we’re going to attack the problem at its source.
We’ll be taking a look at how electronics actually affects your sleep. Also, we’ll be taking a look at some strategies that will help you reduce your use of electronics so you can be able to sleep better every single night. If you are among the handfuls of people that struggle with sleep (and electronic use may be to blame), read on to know more.
How Electronics Affect Sleep
Most electronics emit noises and lights that can play a role in making sleep less likely to acquire. In fact, it may be even the smallest of things that you might not know about. Here are some ways that electronics can affect your sleep:
1. “Blue Light”
Most of your electronics that have backlights like your smartphone or computer emit a wave of blue light. Such exposure prior to bedtime can reduce the levels of natural melatonin that is produced in your body. Melatonin is the chemical in our body that is produced naturally so you can sleep soundly each and every night.
However, with low levels of melatonin, that can spell trouble for you. According to a recent study, participants who have used electronics two hours prior to bedtime had a hard time falling asleep. Even with the use of smartphones, Kindle readers, and laptops, this has become a growing problem.
2. Wi-Fi signals
You’re probably wondering how Wi-Fi signals play a role in this. Well, you’re not alone. WiFi devices have this ability to produce electromagnetic signals that our brains can be able to pick up. While you may hear it sometimes (like a low, consistent hum), it may be enough to disturb your sleep.
Since your brain can pick this up better than your auditory senses, it can best explain why sleep may be hard to come by. Even the signals coming from your Smartphone may even play a role because they emit the same thing. Interestingly enough, this happens when you try to sleep with your phone close to you.
3. Too much information
No…we’re not talking that kind of “TMI”. But being able to read, watch TV, listen to podcasts on our devices are just a few ways to acquire information. Sometimes, too much of it may just throw our brains off course. And it keeps us up wanting more (by the time you’re far down the rabbit hole, it’s already 2 AM). Imagine reading something, but you can’t seem to put it away or have this temptation to dig even deeper for more information. Information can be very addicting.
4. White noise
This one is a bit of a stunner. White noise is supposed to help you sleep, right? Believe it or not, they don’t.
That’s because the white noise machines that claim to help you sleep produce those low electromagnetic noises and signals. The same can be done if you’re playing one of those White Noise videos on YouTube in the background. Oh…and one more thing, it’s not REAL white noise.
True white noise like rain hitting a window or being able to hear it outside will more than likely help you sleep. Why is this? Because they don’t produce…you guessed it, electromagnetic waves that affect your brain.
What To Do About It
Now that you know some of the technological causes that affect your sleep, now it’s time to attack the problem on all fronts. These may be hard to do at first, but once you are able to get in the habit of doing this, it will all become easier. Here are some ways to go about reducing your technology so you sleep better.
1. Power down
At least two hours before your intended bedtime, it is important that you power down all your electronics. This means no TV, smartphone on airplane mode (or shut off your notifications), putting away your laptop, and so on.
2. Find something that will help you relax
There are plenty of relaxing activities that you can do sans electronics. For example, grab a book from your bookshelf and start reading. If you have a notepad, plan the next day. If you have a special notebook, do some journaling. The key here is that you want your body to be more relaxed so you can be able to go to sleep much easier.
You can also do some stretches (think yoga). Contrary to popular belief, don’t do any kind of workouts like pushups, squats, or the like since it may cause your body to rev up with energy. But still, light physical activity can be a relaxing thing.
3. Improve your sleep environment
A peaceful bedtime routine sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. Sometimes even small changes to your environment can make a big difference to your quality of sleep. Make sure your bed is comfortable. Your bed covers should leave you enough room to stretch and turn comfortably without becoming tangled. If you often wake up with a sore back or an aching neck, you may need to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide more or less support. Recommended read: mattress buying guide
4. Put electronics in a different room
The farther away you are from your electronic devices, the better. If you rely on your cell phone as your alarm clock, you can place it in the opposite side of your room. That way, when it goes off you can just get up and shut it off rather than reach for the snooze button.
5. Take care of tasks before powering down
Need to respond to texts or emails? Have one more thing to scratch off the list? Get it all done before your designated power downtime.
According to Sleep Standards, a better night’s sleep equals a much healthier and productive life. While we depend on technology throughout the day, we’d be smart enough to use it up until a certain time. Be sure to follow the tips above so you can make each night restful and refreshing.