Having trouble falling asleep at night? Believe it or not, your cell phone might be to blame! New research demonstrates that over 75% of people sleep with their cell phone in reach of their bed. Studies have also demonstrated that people using mobile phones prior to going to bed took longer to fall asleep and also spent less time in deep, restful sleep.
Why Cell Phones Interrupt Sleep?
Like televisions and computer screens, smartphones emit alight called blue light, this allows you to see the phone’s screen even during the brightest part of the day. This light is great during the day, but can be a real problem at night. At night, your brain interprets the light as sunlight; as a result, your brain stops producing the sleep hormone melatonin and disrupts your natural sleep cycle.
While this sleep disruption might be a mere inconvenience in the short term, long-term sleep disruptions can increase the risk of several serious health issues, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Should You Check Your Smartphone Before Bed?
As challenging as it might be, the answer is no, you should not check your phone before going to bed. Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that using your smartphone, tablet, or computer before bed disrupts your quality of sleep and leaves you tired and less focused the next day.
Tips for Unplugging Your Phone for a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep Expert, Dr. Doctor Jeffrey Bluhm of the Providence Sleep Disorder Center, provides the following tips for preventing cell phone-related sleep disturbances:
- If possible, turn the phone off;
- Charge the phone in a room other than your bedroom;
- If in the bedroom, silence all alerts, alarms, and ringers;
- If equipped, utilize the “Do Not Disturb” feature to block incoming emails, text messages, and phone calls.
Healthy Tips To Relax and Have a Great Night’s Sleep
Rather than checking your email, text messages, or favorite social media sites, consider these healthier ways to calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep:
1. Read a Great Book
Read a book – a real, paper book, and no – you cannot read the book on your tablet, kindle, or smartphone – a real, paper book! Hundreds of studies demonstrate that getting lost in a good book calms your mind, relieves stress, and improves sleep.
2. Cool Your Room, Cool Your Body
You sleep best when the temperature of the room between 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit. Setting the thermostat to your ideal sleeping temperature an hour or two before bed ensures the room is ready for sleep when you are.
Taking a warm or cool bath or shower has also been proven effective in lowering body temperature and improving sleep. Even cooling your core body temperature 1 degree will improve your sleep quality.
Meditation calms a racing mind, in turn relaxing your body in the process. Research demonstrates that the just a few minutes of focus on rhythmic deep breathing lowers stress, clears the mind, slows the heart rate and breathing, and lowers blood pressure; all vital steps to ensuring a restful night of sleep.
4. Black Out Your Bedroom
Just like the light emitted by your phone, your body senses light from streetlights, headlights from passing traffic, and even the last remaining light of the day; all are enough for to disrupt your sleep patterns. In fact, your body is so sensitive to light a research study demonstrated that light shined on the back of people’s lower legs was enough to disrupt the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone).
Turning off your smartphone, Investing in blackout shades and covering the bright lights of alarm clocks should produce the blacked-out room needed for sound, uninterrupted sleep.
5. Unplug Your Phone, Recharge Your Mind
Essential for work, keeping in contact with family, and just keeping up with the work; smartphones are now a part of everyday life.
However, like any great tool, smartphones have repercussions when abused. We are the most sleep-deprived generation in the history of the world; it is no coincidence that we are also currently experiencing record levels of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Quality sleep is vital to health; smartphones disrupt sleep and sleep quality – recharge your mind and your body by unplugging your phone at least one hour before bed.
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