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Sleep and your phone, not a good match.

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Are you having trouble sleeping? Experiencing a bit of insomnia or frequent sleepless nights? Then, you need to ask yourself whether or not you are sending mixed signals to your brain, late in the evening, causing you restless sleep. The human body produces melatonin in response to light during the day time. The melatonin hormone then helps promote sleep at night. Therefore, using a lighted screen on an electronic device late at night can send signals to the brain that it is day time. This causes melatonin production/release at the wrong time of day (night), thus increasing insomnia. In a 2016 article, Dr. Laurie Hollman (Healthy Living, Huffington Post, 8/09/2016) highlights a Harvard study in which certain wavelengths of light inhibited the production of melatonin (crucial hormone for sleep).

Additionally, watching videos, responding to messages on social media, text messages, and email, and browsing through the news while sitting or lying in bed, physically keeps you awake and mentally disturbs your body from beginning to relax, unwind, and prepare for sleep. The type of behavior while lying in bed at night usually causes spouses/couples to be distant to one another, thus causing relationship problems as well.

Just as the television does not belong in a bedroom, neither does cell phones, tablets, laptops, or other electronic devices (aside from an alarm clock). If you are experiencing restless sleep or insomnia, you need to optimize your sleeping environment. This means removing the television and all other electronic devices from the bedroom, and keeping the bedroom solely for sleep (or sexual activity). Even if you are not using your cell phone late at night, just before bed, blinking lights of the cell phone (from charging or receiving messages) can disturb sleep. Of course, we all know how important they are in our everyday lives, which is why we spend so much time when we compare cell phones. Nonetheless, it’s important to make sure that your sleep is not compromised by overuse of your cell phone. It is best to keep the cell phone just outside of the bedroom – on the bathroom counter. This way, you must get up out of bed and walk over to it in order to turn your alarm clock off; thus, you are less likely to disrupt your morning sleep with repetitive snooze cycles. This also helps darken your bedroom, promoting more restful sleep.

Moreover, this also puts the radiation from the cell phone as far away from you as possible, when you are not actually using your phone. If you must keep your phone on your nightstand, then at least turn it face down, so the fewest lights possible are shining/blinking towards you while you are sleeping. If your cell phone is chiming/beeping or ringing at you all night, this will also disrupt your sleep. There are ways of muting your phone, aside from your ‘most important’ (emergency) contacts, and there are ways of muting reminder notices and incoming messages while leaving only the ringer turned on the cell phone. The most optimal situation is having your cell phone completely muted, except for your alarm clock, and your cell phone in an adjacent room (like the bathroom) to charge at night.

Therefore, putting away all electronic devices at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour) before lying down for sleep will allow your body to begin to relax and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.




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