In our recent survey, we discovered that just over half (50.6%) of participants said they had problems with their sleep. 90% of those were watching TV or using their phone, tablet or laptop in bed for either work or pleasure.
Technology is brilliant, but being welded to our electronic devices at night time is taking its toll on our health.
After being awake all day, the body’s biological clock naturally builds up a ‘pressure’ to sleep from around 9pm, that’s why most of us begin to feel drowsy around that time. When we sleep our body goes into ‘maintenance mode’, so it can fix all the functions it needs to, to keep us physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.
When this doesn’t happen over a period of time, we are at a greater risk of getting sick; which can then lead on to serious illness and disease. Imagine if you don’t let your computer do its regular updates, eventually you’ll have all sorts of problems with software updates being out of sync and it starts crashing, it’s the same with our bodies.
Blue light at the wrong time
During the day, we’re exposed to blue light, it is natural daylight. Screens from TVs, electronic devices and even energy saving light bulbs also emit blue light, which is fine during the day. However, it messes with our body clock when we’re exposed too much in the evening and at night, as it’s tricking the light sensitive sleep centre in the brain to wake up. The brain is getting confused as to whether it should be sending us to sleep or waking us up.
It’s not just about the blue light, if we’re checking our work or personal email or who’s been doing what on social media before bedtime, we’re also stimulating our thinking brain, when we should be winding down and relaxing.
So what are our top tips to ensure you improve your sleep?
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, adults need between 7 -9 hours’ per night.
- Turn off your tech at least ninety minutes before lights out.
- If you read before you go to sleep, read an e-reader with the screen turned right down or a proper book or magazine.
- Keep your electronic devices – including the TV out of the bedroom.
- If you do wake up in the night and can’t go back to sleep, don’t be tempted to grab your phone or tablet and start checking the news, or scrolling through your favourite social media feeds , or playing games to try send you to sleep. Remember you’re exposing yourself to blue light and stimulating your brain.
If you apply these simple tips it’s a start to get you back into a normal sleeping pattern. However, we have to wake up to the fact, that too much screen time is slowing our productivity and potentially damaging our health.