Using your smartphone in bed before bed is seriously damaging your sleep, according to experts

Do you like to go to bed and watch your social networks or videos on your smartphone? It would be wise to quit this bad habit that is harming your sleep and your health.

A survey by the National Sleep Foundation in the United States reveals that more than half of Americans use their phones less than an hour before going to bed. In France, a 2016 study by the National Institute for Sleep and Vigilance (INSV) shows that four out of ten French people use their smartphone, tablet or computer in bed before going to bed. This common habit has harmful effects on our sleep.

Staring at a screen an hour before bed prevents the brain from properly relaxing. Melissa Milanak, a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, compares it to taking a casserole out of the oven and putting it directly in the refrigerator: “Our brains need time to cool down. Lack of sleep due to this excessive screen use can be linked to anxiety, some forms of obesity and other health problems.

Blue light emitted by screens is one of the main culprits. Lisa Strauss, a psychologist specializing in sleep disorders, explains that this light is perceived by our brain as sunlight and thus slows down the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Even at low intensity, blue light disrupts our internal clock, or circadian rhythm, which is responsible for regulating sleep.

It also depends on what you are doing on your phone. Watching videos, reading work emails or endlessly browsing social networks like TikTok, Facebook or Instagram stimulates your brain at a time when it should be resting. These activities increase stress and excitement, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

If you want to improve your sleep, it is essential to change this habit. Opt for relaxing screen-free activities an hour before bed. Reading a book (on real paper!), listening to music or a podcast, or taking a hot shower are great alternatives. Additionally, avoid these activities in your bedroom, which should be reserved for sleeping.

Also try to keep your phone away. You don’t have to turn it off, but putting it on airplane mode, muting notifications, and placing it across the room can make a big difference. That way, you won’t be tempted to check the latest notification or watch the latest video.

Understandably, changing this routine is difficult. Smartphones offer instant gratification and are designed to be addictive. However, taking care of your sleep is essential to your overall well-being. By making a little effort to avoid screens before bed, you may notice a significant improvement in the quality of your sleep.

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