What’s the last thing you see before you close your eyes at night time? For many people, it’s their smartphone. Lying in bed and scrolling through the days social media updates, catching up on news, or getting in a few rounds of Candy Crush is a pretty common habit, but it might be having a big effect on the quality and quantity of sleep you are getting.
While the blue light emitted from screens not only prevents the biological onset of sleep, there’s also the problem of losing track of time while you are scrolling away before bed. Have you ever thought that you might just quickly check Instagram before you turn out the lights, only to realise 20, 40 or 60 minutes later you are still scrolling or gone down at least one rabbit hole?
Having your screen beside your bed at night means that we tend to go to sleep later than we intended, have a harder time falling asleep (thanks to the blue light), and may even wake up during the night in response to bings or buzzes made by out phone. The end results of less and poorer quality sleep, especially over a prolonged period, can be significant health impairments including overweight and obesity, fuzzy thinking and poor concentration from a lack of refreshing sleep, mood disturbances, and lower productivity during the day.
So what can you do?
Ideally, don’t have your phone in the bedroom at all.
I know, but hear me out…
Baring things like being on call for emergencies or work, what harm can come from putting your phone on the charger in a different room? It might feel weird the first few times but eventually you will develop a bedtime routine where you go to sleep on time, fall asleep more quickly, and sleep through the night – or at least if you don’t it won’t be because Facebook has notified you of a post about what your friend had for dinner. If you share your sleeping space with a significant other, you might even find that you have more time to talk and connect at night and when you wake up in the morning.
But what if I use my phone as an alarm clock, I hear you ask. Good question, and one that lots of people ask. What did you use as an alarm clock before you could use your smartphone? You could go old school and return to the simpler times of analogue, or you could embrace technology further by investing in a smart speaker. Smart speakers don’t emit any light into the room, can wake you up in the morning, but most importantly, they don’t make any sound unless you command them to.
So, give it a try. There’s very little to lose and a whole lot to be gained from keeping screens out of the bedroom.