Screen Time And Sleeping Issues

Darryl Bachmeier
Nov 8, 2020
Life


You have prepared yourself to go to sleep and what then? You take your phone or a tablet and spend hours watching videos, browsing social media and etc. Screen time, sleep, and the link between the two is something most people don’t understand. We will explain the matter here and teach you how to prevent certain issues.

You will sleep 16 minutes less and wake up tired

In a nutshell, you will sleep 16 minutes less when using any form of a gadget with a screen before going to bed. This fact was confirmed at the University of Haifa located in Israel and it is a severe issue of modern generations. You will also sleep poorly and wake up tired and even in a bad mood in the morning. This is just the beginning. There are other reasons why using a device of this kind before going to bed is a bad thing. The goal of this paragraph was just to give you an idea of why this habit is something you should eliminate as quickly as possible. Now, let’s move to a more detailed explanation.

3 reasons why screens affect your sleep

There are 3 main reasons why looking at a screen before going to bed is a bad habit. These are severe issues and they are even more dangerous for kids and teenagers. If you are a parent, be really careful and pay close attention to the reasons we will cover below.

Your mind stays active and engaged

You will likely post, comment, watch videos, or play games before going to bed. Regardless of what you do, your mind will be more active at the time when it shouldn’t. The real problem is the fact your brain will stay active even after you are done using a smartphone. We will use the smartphone as an example, but the situation is the same with all devices with a screen.

Melatonin level will be lower

Melatonin is an important hormone. It controls when you sleep and when you wake up in the morning. All screens emit blue light that is similar or at least has the same effect on your brain as sunlight. This will decrease the level of melatonin and make you feel more awake. An interesting fact is that during the day, this can have a positive outcome. You will be more aware and more focused. But, at night it will postpone sleep and take you roughly 16 minutes from much-needed sleep. Blue light affects circadian rhythm which normally works alongside day and night. This rhythm is responsible for why people have more energy during the day than at night. The bottom line is that blue light affects both, melatonin and circadian rhythm which affect the sleep cycle.

Screen time will postpone REM sleep as well

REM stands for Rapid eye movement sleep and it is present among all mammals and birds. It is called this due to eye movement which is present during the cycle. It can last for 90 minutes and it can occur after other sleep cycles. When you postpone falling asleep, you postpone REM as well. REM sleep is essential for a better mood, better memory, and also for learning. Now you know why children and students must sleep longer and why postponing this sleep cycle is so bad. In addition, REM sleep is essential for proper brain development in infants! Emotional and physical health are both affected when REM sleep is decreased or disrupted.

What you should do?

According to the experts, you should avoid looking at a screen for at least 1 hour before going to bed. Ideally, you will eliminate this action 2-3 hours before going to bed. Alternatively, you can use blue or night mode on some smartphones. However, this rarely works and it isn’t available on most devices sold today. It was available on older smartphones, but it was removed due to obvious reasons. Wearing glasses that block blue light from a screen can be useful but it isn’t the solution. In the end, the best alternative is to stop using a smartphone before you go to bed. Try this for a couple of days and you will see the obvious benefits. You can expect more energy, better sleep, and a better mood on the next day. Use a smartphone during the day and do not use it at night. If you work online and you must be in front of a screen at night or at sleeping time, wear protective glasses. There are plenty of models on the market that are relatively helpful. Sadly, this isn’t the best alternative and something that can eliminate the 3 issues we have covered above.

Conclusion

Screen time, sleep, and the link between the two is strong. Ideally, you will stop using any device with a screen 2-3 hours before going to bed. For children and teenagers, this is even more important and parents should pay more attention to the problem. Sleep is one of three pillars needed for proper health, so you can imagine the importance.

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