Power down before bed
How do you prepare your mind for sleep? So many of us have a wired way of attempting to wind down at night. Checking emails, watching your new favorite obsession on Netflix, catching up on social media, even reading from your tablet before bed, which leads to less, not more, sleep each night. Can we stop cuddling up with our screens and start having a serious relationship with sleep?
According to the National Sleep Foundation more than 85% of adults have at least one screen in front of them before bedtime, which can wake the brain up instead of preparing it for sleep. Disrupted sleep patterns can have negative implications for overall performance in everyday life and cause health related issues. The simple truth is that our brains, bodies and sleep cycles are all affected when we bring our electronic devices to bed.
Ready to find a new sleep partner? Because the ones we have now – our phones, televisions and tablets – are robbing us of precious hours of sleep.
electronics sleep is on the brain
Your brain needs time to relax and settle down before sleep can be achieved. Remember, sleep is not a task, it’s a nightly event and you’re the only one who can schedule it. Using electronics wakes up your brain and increases brain activity, tricking your brain into believing it needs to stay awake to focus. This is the opposite of what you want your brain to do right before trying to go to sleep. Right?
Sleep does the body good
Not only does your brain react to electronic devices, but your body does as well. Writing a work email, playing a video game or watching an intense scene in a movie, can create stress, which sends your body into “flight or fight” mode and stress hormones are produced. No surprise that this physical response is not conducive to promote the calmness your body needs to feel before bed and adds to the amount of time it will take for you to finally fall asleep.
Let there be sleep not light
The blue light that every electronic device emits is another factor that keeps you from achieving your greatest sleep potential. The light causes a delay in the natural release of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. Melatonin controls your sleep and awake cycles allowing you to fall asleep, stay asleep and then rise in the morning. Delaying the production of melatonin will prolong the journey in reaching the ultimate destination – sleep.
Unplug & sleep better
Consistently throwing off your sleep times can cause what is referred to as “delayed sleep syndrome,” where your body physically can’t fall asleep naturally until a late or delayed bedtime. Don’t worry though – your sleeper’s not broken. It just needs to be re-calibrated. To readjust your natural sleep time, plug into these helpful tips:
- Charging station – Create a charging station in another room to power your devices overnight and avoid keeping them on the bedside table.
- Alarm clock – Buy a real alarm clock instead of using your phone. If you need to still keep your phone somewhere in your room, plug it in across the room, away from your bed. This can also help you to fully wake up in the morning and force you to get up out of bed to turn off the alarm.
- Power off screens – Turn off all your screens, televisions, phones, computers; at least an hour before bed. Those with work situations where this is not always easy, try powering down 15-30 minutes before bed.
- Bring paper back – Read from a printed book instead of a tablet. An alternative would be to try an app that flips your screen’s background. Instead of black letters on a white background (like you’re reading right now), it will show white letters on a black background, helping to cut down on the emission of light.
- Bedtime routine – Start adjusting your sleep habits and try to eliminate electronics from your bedtime routine.