With nearly 95% of us in the U.S. owning smartphones, we are constantly connected to our friends, family, and jobs. That also means that for some of us, it’s hard to put down our phones – even at bedtime. While it may not seem like a bad idea to use our phones before we hit the sack or keep our phones next to us while we sleep, these technology habits are probably preventing many of us from getting a restful night’s sleep. Here’s some reasons why:
Phones can affect your melatonin levels
The blue light emitted by phone devices may prevent your body from producing sufficient amounts of melatonin. This hormone controls your sleep and wake cycles (or your circadian rhythm). Once your melatonin production is disrupted, it’s more difficult for your body to fall and stay asleep. You can help your body regulate its melatonin levels by giving yourself at least 30 minutes of phone-free time before bed. Or, better yet, make your bedroom a phone-free zone.
Phones can disrupt your sleep cycles
It’s important to mute your phone to eliminate non-essential elements, such as sounds and vibrations that can easily disrupt your sleep cycle. Afraid of missing emergency calls or urgent emails? Set your phone to only allow notifications from specific people or email addresses. This will prevent you from being jarred when falling asleep or being woken up in the middle of the night.
Phones can keep your brain overly alert
While you may want to fire off a few emails from your phone before bed or unwind with a movie, resist the urge! Keeping your mind engaged can trick your brain into thinking that it needs to stay awake. Something as minor as having the last word in a heated Facebook argument may make it hard for your body to relax before bed. Give your mind time to unwind by putting down the phone and relaxing.