Why You Should Ditch Your Phone Before Bed
Winning the fight at night 📱
Our phones have become a part of our daily routine. We can’t imagine going anywhere without them. Most people today get into bed to try and fall asleep while using their phones even once they’re in bed. Listening to some calming music or watching your favorite show may seem like a good way to fall asleep, but a growing body of research highlights that this could be problematic.
Ditching your phone for an hour or 2 before bed is a great way to promote better health because you’ll avoid the adverse effects of using your phone late into the night. Here’s what you should know that’ll help you kick the habit.
You’ll fall asleep much later
When you end up using your phone just before going to bed, you’re likely to come across things that will interest you and get caught up in such thoughts or discussions. Whether it’s a social media post or an interesting article, using your phone before bed keeps you awake for longer and causes you to fall asleep much later. You may even find yourself looking up at your clock and being shocked by just how much time you’ve spent on your phone simply because you lost track of the time.
It’ll adversely affect your level of alertness
When you’re using your phone in bed, you’re likely to be more alert. Your brain has already worked tirelessly throughout the day taking in lots of information and it deserves to get some rest. Using your phone in bed doesn’t allow it to get the rest it deserves though. It keeps your brain active and increases your level or alertness, especially if you get caught up in a discussion with someone online that gets you worked up. This makes it difficult for you to fall asleep.
The opposite effect occurs in the morning when you actually should be on high alert. Because your brain has been active at night when it should have been resting, you’ll end up feeling more tired and groggy in the morning. This can affect your level of productivity throughout the day because you simply haven’t got the required amount of rest you should have got the previous night.
Your melatonin secretion will be suppressed
Melatonin is the hormone secreted for the regulation of the body’s natural sleep wake cycle. Melatonin is secreted at night to give our bodies the signal that it’s time for bed. Exposure to blue light emitted by phone screens suppresses the secretion of melatonin because this light is meant to mimic daylight. With reduced melatonin secretion, you’ll have difficulty in properly regulating your circadian rhythm.
Blue light during the day is meant to keep us alert and active since it mimics daylight but at night, exposure to such light will only confuse the body and affect melatonin secretion, thereby disrupting its natural circadian rhythm. I've actually started wearing blue light (blocking) glasses about 2 hours before bed. It has made a huge difference in the time it takes to get to sleep.
Your REM sleep will be reduced
REM sleep is the deep, restorative stage of sleep that’s essential for memory consolidation and is linked to creativity as well as problem solving skills. Exposure to your phone in bed can delay you from falling asleep which in turn delays the time taken to reach REM sleep because your mind is still active. Being on high alert can also interrupt your REM sleep because you’re constantly getting up to respond to messages received or take a look at any new notifications you get. Putting your phone on silent mode or better still, placing it in a different room can prevent this from happening.
It can increase your risk for several health issues
The blue light from phones can damage the retinas. Apart from this, phone use can negatively affect sleep quality which can increase your risk for several health issues like:
• Mood issues
• Impaired learning and memory
• Type 2 diabetes
• Heart attack
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this and would like to learn more, check out this book that really details the benefits of sleep! 🙏🏾