A healthy adult’s biological clock follows a 24-hour cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Cortisol, a wake-and-awake hormone, is secreted by your body as soon as the sun comes up in the morning. Melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, is released by the body as the sun sets.
Short-wavelength enhanced light, sometimes known as “blue light,” is emitted by electronic back-lit gadgets, such as cell phones, tablets, readers, and laptops. LED and fluorescent lights also generate blue light, which has been found to delay or impede the production of melatonin in the evening and lessen sensations of tiredness. Blue light can also limit the amount of time you spend in slow-wave and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, two stages of the sleep cycle that are crucial for cognitive functioning.
Using electronic devices that generate blue light can have a negative impact on children’s sleep. The amount of time it takes someone to fall asleep increases when they use gadgets with displays before bed, according to numerous research. Additionally, children who use these devices at night are more likely to be weary the next day because they don’t get enough high-quality sleep.
The nighttime generation of melatonin can be disrupted by some forms of domestic lights. One study indicated that bright lighting in the bedroom can delay the onset of melatonin production by up to 90 minutes.
Blue light, in addition to disrupting sleep, can also damage the retina. While blue light has a noticeable impact on your circadian rhythms, red, yellow, and orange light have none at all. Reading at night is best done with a light source that emits one of these hues. Blue light is emitted by portable e-readers like the Kindle and Nook, but it is not as intense as it is from other types of electronics. When reading on an e-reader, turn down the brightness as much as possible.
How Do Electronics Affect Children?
Blue light has been shown to have a harmful impact on children, according to studies. In youngsters, the effects of blue light are more pronounced since their eyes are less sensitive to light as they age. When compared to adults, children’s melatonin production is approximately twice as suppressed by blue light. Pre-bedtime use of screen-based technology is connected with a later bedtime, as well as less total sleep.
Children’s academic performance and conduct might be negatively impacted by a lack of adequate sleep. Endocrine function, which is important for a child’s physical growth, may also be affected by insufficient sleep. In addition, blue light exposure may have an effect on the eyes’ eyesight.
A good night’s sleep and a healthy childhood can be encouraged by limiting a child’s exposure to screens at night. Establishing screen-free zones and technology curfews are two methods of reducing blue light exposure.
Tips For Using Technology at Night
Blue light emitting devices, such as cell phones and computers, should be avoided at least an hour before night, according to many experts. As a result, many people find it difficult to totally avoid using electronic devices prior to bedtime. It is possible to restrict the effects of technology and encourage a good night’s rest, though.
A screen-free bedtime ritual can help you signal to your body that it’s time to go to sleep, even if you can’t entirely give up all technology use in the evenings.
Keeping electronic devices away from your bed may seem like a no-brainer, but it can really interfere with your body’s ability to relax and fall asleep. Preparing for sleep by avoiding screens at night may help you get a good night’s sleep.
Dim Your Lights: Blue light isn’t just emitted by screens. Fluorescent and LED lights may also emit some quantities of blue light, which might disrupt a good night’s sleep. To help your body transition into a deep sleep, dim the lighting in your room at night.
Many smartphones offer a night mode that dims the screen and minimizes the amount of blue light that is emitted.
Glasses with “Blue Blocker” Lenses are a good investment: In order to block out blue light, blue light-blocking glasses use specific coatings on the lenses of the glasses. Some of the negative effects of blue light on eyesight and sleep cycles may be reduced by wearing these glasses.
When it comes to changing the way you engage with technology before bed, these habits and other sleep hygiene measures can help keep you healthy, alert, and well-rested.
Put the Phone Away! 3 Reasons Why Looking at It Before Bed Is a Bad Habit
Maybe when you’re sleeping, your smart phone is undoubtedly tucked right next to (or even under) your pillow. Even in the tiny hours of the morning, you may respond to calls, texts, and emails.
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As a result, isn’t technology the best? Is it possible to always remain online and never log off?
That’s not quite right. There is a good chance you aren’t aware of the negative effects your smartphone use is having on both your sleep and your brain health. A seemingly harmless practice, such as rushing to open your phone before night, has the potential to affect your general health.
It’s worth listening to sleep disorders physician and sleep specialist Harneet Walia, MD, for more insight into this sleep-depriving habit.
1. It keeps your mind psychologically engaged
The purpose of smartphones is to make our lives easier and more productive. They’re intended to amuse and inform us at the same time. When it’s time to wind down for the night, the last thing our brain wants is more stimuli and distractions from the outside. We give our minds plenty to ponder during the course of the day, so it seems fair.) According to Dr. Walia, “checking your phone stimulates your brain so that we are more active and aware. There is no need to do more than a quick check before going to bed. Feeling the urge to be connected and available at all times might exacerbate this bad habit. Doctor Walia cautions against rushing to comment, post, or scroll as soon as you receive an email or other message. Even when we’re asleep, we feel like we’re always connected because to smartphones. A few minutes of Instagram browsing or responding to emails from work won’t necessarily put you to sleep. Getting ready for bed and drifting off to sleep should be an enjoyable, calm process. Those sensations can be harmed if you spend too much time on your phone right before you go to bed.
2. The blue light from the screen suppresses melatonin
Let’s get right to it, shall we? The blue light emitted by your smartphone is not only harmful to your eyes, but it is also detrimental to the health of your brain. According to Dr. Walia, studies have established a link between low melatonin levels and blue light exposure. In order to regulate your sleep-wake cycle, you need the hormone melatonin. As a result, if your body is depleted, you may suffer from insomnia, fatigue, and irritation. The blue light emanating from your phone is a man-made hue meant to resemble the color blue in nature. While this can help you stay attentive throughout the day, it’s the exact opposite of what you want when it’s time to settle down for the night. Getting your circadian rhythm out of sync is easy when you’re exposed to blue light. Darkness and light go hand in hand in this rhythm. It’s the reason you’re more weary at night as the sun sets, and more energised in the morning when the sun rises.
Your body’s intrinsic schedule and rhythm are disrupted when you use your phone immediately before going to sleep.
3. The alerting properties delay REM sleep
You’re probably familiar with the feeling of seeing something upsetting on Facebook just before going to bed. Even seeing something that makes you joyful right before you go to sleep might cause a reaction that delays falling asleep, which in turn delays REM sleep. These feelings can keep you up for hours at a time, staring at the ceiling. Dr. Walia explains that checking your phone immediately before going to sleep might lead to a variety of negative emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Even when you stay up late on social media, it doesn’t merely boost your attentiveness. It’s the anticipation or physical sensation of hearing or seeing an alarm go off on your phone while you’re fast asleep. It keeps an ear out for the email chime informing you when a project is making progress. Despite the fact that your phone is designed to make your life easier and entertain you, it does the exact reverse at night. It’s keeping you awake, stimulating your brain, delaying REM sleep, and keeping you distracted.
Are You Concerned About Electronics Affecting Your Sleep?
Having learned about the negative correlation between electronic devices and sleep, perhaps you’re wondering how these devices effect your own sleep patterns?
A sleep tracker, a wearable, mattress-mounted or bedside gadget that monitors and analyzes your sleep patterns without disrupting you, is the answer to this question.
If you use this gadget, you can determine whether or not limiting your exposure to technology in the hours leading up to bedtime leads to fewer nighttime awakenings. Additionally, it can keep track of things like how long it takes you to fall asleep, how long you sleep for, and how much time you spend in deep and REM sleep.
Assuming that you have a problem with nighttime technology use, here are a few tips to help you get over it…
Get More Natural Light During the Day
Similarly to sunscreen, a “screen screen” is required for electronic device protection. Interestingly, exposure to natural light provides just this kind of protection..
As a first step, it helps you reset your body’s internal clock and keep your circadian cycles in check. Second, your body becomes less sensitive to the effects of artificial light, particularly blue light emitted by electronic gadgets, if you get adequate sunlight exposure each day.
People who are exposed to electronic gadgets at night have melatonin levels that are no different from those who are not, according to one study, when exposed to plenty of daylight during the day. Or to put it another way, solar radiation helps counteract the harm caused by technological gadgets.
In addition, those who get enough sun exposure tend to feel rejuvenated and require the same amount of time to fall asleep, regardless of the amount of time they spend using electronic gadgets.
Maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm requires at least 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to natural light each day in order to counteract the negative effects of blue light exposure at night.
Start Unwinding 30 Minutes to an Hour Before Bed
It is human nature to want routines, and this includes those that indicate the passage from day to night. Before going to sleep, take a “digital detox” to help your body and mind adjust to the new routine.
Listening to peaceful music, practising gentle yoga, reading light-hearted books, or any other calming activity might help you wind down before bed. Just make sure you do it before you go to bed every night.
In order to help you fall asleep, you need to establish a nightly relaxation routine. This will help your body and mind associate peaceful activities like reading or listening to music with sleep.
Dim Your Bedroom Lights an Hour Before Bed
Artificial light isn’t limited to devices and gadgets if you want a restful night’s sleep. Even during the hours between sunset and bedtime, exposure to indoor lights has been proven to reduce the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
One study found that subjects exposed to normal room lighting before bed had melatonin exposure times that were 90 minutes less than those exposed just to dim lighting.
Given that a single sleep cycle lasts about 80 minutes, it’s easy to see how this would have a significant impact on your quality of rest. The amount of melatonin produced in the body can be reduced by as much as 50% when exposed to light from indoor sources while sleeping.
Melatonin release can be affected by bright indoor lighting, but it can also be influenced by when it is released, which can cause your circadian rhythm to change.
As a solution, we suggest reducing the lights in your bedroom an hour before bedtime. Orange or red-toned bulbs can be used to achieve the same relaxing effect.
A lack of sleep can be attributed to a variety of factors, including bright screens, sudden alarms, and excessive usage of electronic gadgets at night.
The most important message from these ideas is to remember to prioritize your sleep above all else. Your health and well-being begin to improve as soon as you do this.