Electronics and Sleep

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Are you feeling like your sleep quality isn’t as good as it should be? If the answer is yes, then maybe the problem might not particularly be your sleep, but what you are doing right before you go to sleep. Do you watch television before you go to sleep at night? Do you watch television to “help” you fall asleep at night? Or do you use your phone while laying in bed before you fall asleep at night? If so, then this may be the reason to why you’re having trouble falling asleep at night and not getting the best quality of sleep you could possibly have. Watching television or being on your phone right before bed may be doing more harm to you than good. In this article, we will discuss the things that may affect your quality of sleep and how to improve it.

The side-effects of television and cell phone use before bed

Studies have shown that watching television or being on your cell phone right before bed can affect your quality of sleep significantly for a multitude of reasons.

  • Hormone Effects: In those studies, it was found that the blue light that is emitted from the screens of your phones or televisions suppress the production of Melatonin; the main hormone that controls the bodies circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). When Melatonin is suppressed, it makes falling asleep more difficult and can keep you up longer than you should be.
  • Brain Activity: Not only does watching television or being on your cell phones suppress the production of Melatonin, but it also increases your brain activity. When you’re watching television or watching a video on your phone, your brain activity is in an active state and even though you may be laying in bed, your brain is under the impression that you’re still doing things and that it needs to stay awake because it’s receiving information that needs to be processed when you should be trying to relax and ease into a more relaxed state. Ultimately, it’s not a good thing to be on your phone or watching television because it can have a major effect on your emotional or physical state of being. For example, if you see something that may be disturbing or affect you emotionally, it activates the body’s “fight or flight response” and therefore will cause your body to release a stress hormone called Cortisol which is counterproductive to sleep because you want to be relaxed when you sleep, not stressed.

How do I get better sleep?
First and foremost, the first thing to do is to stop using your electronics before bedtime. Scientists say that its best to unwind at least 30 minutes before going to bed which means, to rid yourself of any electronics or any stressful stimuli. It is also recommended to either leave your phone on silent or leave your phone far enough to where you can’t hear it so that way, if an e-mail or a text message were to come, you will not be awakened by the alert. Lastly, if you do all of these and you are still getting unrefreshed sleep, and having morning headaches than you may have something more serious that is underlying such as Sleep Apnea. If you suspect that you have Sleep Apnea, see a Physician that specializes in sleep medicine so that they can have you do a sleep study to test whether you suffer from Sleep Apnea.