People are becoming more and more reliant on electronics, whether that is for alarms, entertainment, communication, or the abundant of other uses electronics entail. The connection is constant. As you are reading this article, you have probably checked your phone, Facebook, and email. However, there is a bigger problem caused by this issue. Your brain is being bombarded by stimulation being sent from your electronic devices to the chemicals in your brain, particularly at nighttime. The release of melatonin in your brain to tell your body that it is time to wind down and go to sleep is being delayed due to this stimulation.
So, what’s the issue?
The issue is that people are on their devices for hours before bed. Besides the obvious of putting off sleep to be on your electronics, the light from the devices’ screen gives off a blue light that your brain is interpreting as the sun rising. As a result, the melatonin in your brain is suppressed and your body is not told it’s time to go to bed. Therefore, you are not acquiring that feeling of drowsiness and in fact, you may even feel more alert. When you give your body the sufficient amount of sleep, it allows your body to rejuvenate and prepare itself for the next day. The less sleep you let your body get, the less amount of time you allow it to go through each sleep stage, ultimately cheating yourself from the cycle. As a result, you are sluggish or exhausted the next day.
How can you fix this problem?
An abundant of us use our cell phones as alarm clocks. First off, switching your alarm “on” before bed takes about 15 seconds, but turns into a half hour episode because you can’t resist checking all of your social media sites, sending a goodnight text, or checking and responding to an email. Just like that your brain is riled up and no longer understands that you are ready for bed. One way to fix this problem is to bring back your beloved alarm clock. Not only will this help to decrease the distracting task of setting an alarm on your phone, but it will also diminish the harmful effect of waking up and clicking your phone to see the time. If you don’t want to invest in an alarm clock, keep a watch by your bed so if you need to check the time in the middle of the night you are able to check your watch instead of a phone that contains the underlying blue light in it. Next, you could plug your phone, iPad, laptop, or Kindle in away from your bed or even in another room so you are not tempted to use it when you are laying in bed at night. Lastly, as always, there’s an app for it. For all Apple products there is an app called “F.Lux” and for Androids an app can be found called “Twilight,” which take away the blue light that is emitting the harmful effects of using electronic devices before bedtime.
Sleep is a valuable and well-deserved aspect in this hectic life. Don’t compromise your sleep in order to spend more time on your electronic device.