If you are like most people, the last thing you look at before going to sleep (and the first thing you see upon awakening) may be your phone. How might this impact your ability to sleep and contribute to insomnia? Should you sleep with your phone in the bedroom? What are the potential harmful effects of keeping a phone near you in bed?
Consider how sleeping near a phone may impact your ability to sleep, and changes that you can make tonight to help yourself to sleep better.
How Modern Phones Impact Sleep
Mobile, cell, or smartphones are now fully integrated into our daily lives. These marvels of technology function as pocket-sized computers. With them, we can perform many activities necessary for modern living.
You can phone calls, send text messages, map a route, surf the Internet, respond to emails, and interact via social media like Facebook and Twitter. You can also play games and use apps to perform a stunning array of tasks. It should be no surprise that these functions may also have the potential to intrude upon our sleep.
Many of these activities may prompt a compulsive desire to continue refreshing, checking, responding, reading, scrolling, posting, clicking, or playing. It feels good and there is a limitless opportunity for additional stimulation.
It may be tough to stop and put the device away. This alone may lead to a delay in bedtime and reduced total sleep time. This may contribute to sleep deprivation if the needed hours of sleep to feel rested are not obtained. The stimulation may make it hard to shut down and fall asleep. The mind may be overly excited or activated.
In addition, the light from phone, tablet, or computer screens may impact the ability to fall asleep. Small amounts of artificial light from the screens may cause a delay in the circadian rhythm.
This may be especially impactful on night owls with a naturally delayed sleep phase. If morning sunlight is not obtained to counteract these effects, insomnia and morning sleepiness may result.
Changes to Improve Sleep Tonight
It is clear that phones may be disruptive to the ability to sleep. If you have insomnia, or simply do not get enough sleep, this is a simple change that might help. Reflect on how much your phone may be impacting your sleep environment and consider the following changes.
Remove Phone From Bedroom
Allow yourself to go to bed without your phone. If there is an emergency, you will learn about it in the morning. By removing the phone from the bedroom, and placing it to charge in another room such as the kitchen, it is possible to reduce its impact on your sleep.
Get an Alarm Clock
Get an alarm clock instead of using your phone’s alarm. Although phones can do a lot, sometimes the trade-off of intrusion for convenience is simply not worth it. Buy an inexpensive alarm clock if you need one to wake in the morning on time. Put it across the room and set it to the time you need to get up.
As much as possible, don’t look at the clock or check the time at night. If you absolutely must use your phone as your alarm clock , set it to airplane or night mode to reduce disruptions and place it out of reach.
Make a Buffer Zone
Preserve a buffer zone and minimize light at night. Try to protect the last hour before your bedtime as a time to relax and prepare for sleep.
Reduce your eyes’ exposure to direct light. As able, switch any close screens to night mode (reducing blue light). If you are especially sensitive to light at night, consider eliminating it as much as possible.
Try your best to put technology in its place. These devices are designed to enhance our lives, but they can become intrusive if not contained. Commit yourself to removing the phone from your bedroom. This small change may help you to optimize your ability to sleep and ensure that you get enough sleep to feel rested.