Are you one of those people that head to bed but then stay up another hour checking Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or you simply watch TV in bed? Well I am (I’m a bit of an Instagram nut) and I’m not alone. A recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation showed that 95 percent of Americans use an electronic device within one hour of going to sleep.
So here are 3 reasons why you should give yourself an Electronic Curfew:
Reason 1: Even small amounts of light can keep you awake
You may think that TV is lulling you to sleep but the noise actually keeps you awake and more the light interferes with your circadian rhythm, which can be more damaging than one would think. As reported by the National Sleep Foundation, “There is robust scientific data documenting the role of light in promoting wakefulness. Photoreceptors in the retina sense light and dark, signaling our brain about the status of the outside world and aligning our circadian rhythms (centered in a small region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus) to the external day-night cycle. This signaling of light and dark helps us to be alert in the morning and be able to fall asleep at the appropriate time at night. The power of light as an alerting agent is easily conceptualized when we think of the sun, but may be more difficult to appreciate when considering the light emitted from a tablet or smartphone.
Reason 2: Computer and Cell phone usage before bed is linked to insomnia
- Be mindful of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in your bedroom. EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and it’s melatonin production, and may have other negative biological effects as well. A gauss meter is required if you want to measure EMF levels in various areas of your home.
Reason 3: People who do turn off their electronics sleep better
Don’t you want to be a better sleeper? You can buy the best cooling pillows, turn down the thermostat, cut back on caffeine to get better rest but then you pull out the phone and start Facebook Stalking someone from high school. Your intentions were great but that last choice hurts your overall sleep. Well, 53 percent of respondents to a 2014 Sleep in America Poll rated their sleep as excellent because they turn off their electronic at least 1 hour before bedtime.
You know what you should do but can’t break the habit cold turkey? Here are two helpful tips:
Try a free computer program called f.lux, which alters the color temperature of your computer screen as the day goes on, pulling out the blue wavelengths as it gets late. You can also wear yellow-tinted glasses, which block the blue wavelengths of light.
Have your internet connection on a timer. That way it makes the decision for your (in most cases). We have been doing this for about 6 months and although annoying at times, it does remind me that it’s time to wind down and go to bed. An inexpensive outlet timer is what we used to connect to our router.