What else beats a great night’s rest? For me, very few things.
I need good, restful sleep and to wake up fresh to start a new day after a wonderful night of rest. My days always end in exhaustion and all I want to do is lie back and let my body recover.
But the past few years have been difficult – and it’s because of one reason: technology.
Sure, our standard of living has improved and technology brings exciting advancements. But there’s a huge drawback: it’s affecting our sleep.
From playing a game on our smartphone before falling asleep, to watching a show on Netflix late at night, we’re not letting ourselves have enough time to rest – and certainly not allowing our brain to properly transition from awake to resting.
Let’s take a look at how technology is affecting our sleep – and most importantly, what we can do about it.
How can technology have an effect on the way you sleep?
Depending on how old you are, you may remember a time when there was just one TV in the house and it always switched off when people went to bed. Most of us didn’t have TVs in our bedrooms and even if we did, channels and shows were limited. My favorite shows were all on in the early afternoon, never late at night. So the distraction of the bright screen was kept to earlier hours.
But with the advancement in technology, we’ve had an increase in portable options and it’s caused bad habits when it comes to people’s sleep patterns.
The fact is that we are addicted to our tablets, our laptops and especially our smartphones. Those bright screens accompany us everywhere: from the bathroom to the bedroom, and it’s cutting back our sleeping hours.
Reality is that it’s far easier to fall asleep in a pitch dark room, but nowadays, bedrooms are not dark enough due to technology, our need to stay connected and the bright screens we just can’t seem to stay away from.
Exposure to any form of artificial light like this confuses the body’s natural cycle and makes it lose awareness of whether it’s daytime or nighttime.
The problem is caused by the blue lights emitted from devices such as laptops and smartphones. This type of light keeps the brain active and alert, forcing it to stay awake instead of preparing for sleep. If you ever had a situation where you were tired but started playing with your smartphone in bed, then suddenly felt more ‘awake’, then you’ve experienced this problem.
This specially affects us when we’re trying to fall asleep – it starts taking far longer because we’re not producing melatonin (sleep chemicals) when we should be.
What can you do to solve the sleep problems caused by technology?
If you have a lot of devices in your bedroom then you need to ensure that they don’t interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Here are a few solid tips to keep the bright lights and distraction away from affecting your sleep:
- Make sure your room is built for rest and comfort. First and foremost, make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow – it’s a great investment. If you’re not sure which is the best fit for you, check out the guides here.
- Set your phone to silent during the night. That way, you can avoid being woken up by messages, texts, application updates or any other activity from your smartphone.
- Never take your laptop, tablet or phone with you to bed. It’s a bad habit! Keep your activity to other areas of your home. The bed is for rest – get your body and brain used to the concept.
- Make sure your tech devices don’t leave the screen on while they are not in use. The screen should shut-off and not turn on when receiving activity. Turn off notification lights as well.
- Try to limit your tech use about an hour before going to bed. That way, your brain starts preparing for sleep and doesn’t stay as active and alert. I recommend reading a book, just relaxing or finding something else to do that won’t shine a bright screen on your face.
There are many advantages to the advances in technology in the past few years and they sure have made life more comfortable, but as we move nearer to the complete smart home becoming a reality, it’s important to remember that there are certain privileges that we are putting aside.
We’re losing rest, we’re losing comfort and we are setting ourselves up for a lower quality of life.
It’s on us to be conscious of the problem and try to fix our bad habits so we can go back to sleeping well.
Has technology affected your sleep? Tell us below!
Thanks to Freepik for the unedited version of the featured image.