In the last decade, we have all gradually come to depend on our smartphones for so much of our daily lives. For most people, it’s the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing to see before we drift to sleep. Some people will even glance at it multiple times throughout the night.
Restful thought is disrupted by messages from friends or a reminder of unfinished work or endless scrolling on social media. "Screentime" is slowly taking over work, entertainment, education, relaxation and it is helpful to create limits and boundaries for your health.
The blue light from a phone actually affects our natural levels of melatonin and can alter our body’s circadian rhythm, meaning it takes us longer to fall into a restful sleep.
Survey results published by Business Insider & Sleep.org suggest that anywhere between 70-90% of people sleep with their phones.
Research has shown that the short wavelength of the blue light emitted from screens affects melatonin production more than other sources of light. In a world free of artificial light, our body naturally starts to produce melatonin after sunset.
Melatonin encourages your body to sleep and better helps you reach a state of REM, which directly correlates with feeling refreshed and rested in the morning.
image from: https://www.waveformlighting.com/human-centric/blue-light-melatonin-and-circadian-rhythms
Too much exposure to blue light, even hours before bed, disrupts the circadian cycle and makes it harder to fall asleep and more difficult to reach REM.
So what can you do to optimize your sleep?
The best way to avoid blue light is to turn off all screens an hour or two before bed and ideally keep your phone in a different room from where you sleep.
A simple and relaxing evening routine also helps your brain and body prepare for sleep. Read a book, listen to music, meditate, make art, write in a journal or even just jot down notes on a To Do List for the next day. Any thing that helps you unwind without looking at a screen.
If this really isn’t an option for you, there are a number of other solutions or products you can try.
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