Let’s face it…our phones have become an extension of ourselves. When they’re further than arms length away, we panic. Who knows what we could be missing? Calls? Texts? Dare I say… Instagram notifications? (Gasp).
We have become so absorbed in our digital worlds that we’re flooded with anxiety at the thought of leaving our gadgets behind. But in keeping our phones nearby through all hours of the night, we are missing something even more critical than Facebook posts…Sleep!
In addition to simply being distracted with whatever is on your screen while you’re trying to fall asleep, people who sleep with their phones actually experience a physiological reaction, making it more difficult to stay asleep, or sleep soundly.
Sounds crazy right?
Spending time on the phone before bed actually decreases levels of melatonin, a hormone that impacts your sleep-cycle. To put things in perspective, usually people take melatonin when they’re jet-lagged, or if they’re shift workers and can’t cope with the time differences — things that seem a lot more serious than just browsing the web before bed.
Nonetheless, your body experiences similar hormonal effects because of your phone.
I know what you’re thinking: “I get enough sleep.” But the truth is, even if you sleep a full eight hours with your phone, chances are you’ll wake up feeling sleepier than if you didn’t.
This is because our phones interfere with our REM sleep cycles.
3 Habits That Will Improve Your Sleep
Before you start panicking at the thought of leaving your phone behind, don’t worry; there are a few healthy habits you can practice to keep your phone in the bedroom and still wake up feeling refreshed:
1. Use a sleep-enhancing app.
Not what you were expecting right? Fighting technology with technology- genius! Because the blue/white lights in your phone are the culprits responsible for lowering your melatonin levels, counteracting it with a red light actually promotes sleep. There are apps available (Koala Web Browser, Twilight, and f.lux, just to name a few) that filter out the blue lights from your phone to improve sleep quality.
2. Use a real alarm clock.
I’m speaking from experience when I say that there have been so many times that I’ve picked up my phone in bed with the intentions of setting my alarm for the morning and somehow end up in the depths of the Internet learning some new bizarre ways I can use tennis balls or bobby pins. Don’t let this happen to you. Getting an alarm clock is one simple way to avoid looking at your phone once you’ve already tucked yourself in to bed, thereby eliminating an excuse to surf the web.
3. Turn your phone face down in the bedroom.
This seems really simple because it is really simple. I’m not going to tell you to leave your phone out in the hallway because I know it’s unrealistic at best…unless you’re my grandmother who has a drawer in a separate room designated for her phone. The least you can do for yourself is flip your phone over. That way you won’t be tempted to look at it every time it lights up. The less time you spend on your phone, the more time you spend asleep.
Thank me in the morning!