Burton Kelso, Tech Expert
How To Prevent Technology From Affecting Your Sleep
Updated: Mar 23
National Sleep Awareness Month is every March, and the purpose of this holiday is for all of us to take a closer look which provides us with an opportunity to look at our own sleep habits and search for ways to improve the quantity and quality of sleep we get. Eating right and exercising are important for maintaining good sleeping habits, but how much you use your devices can play a big role in sleep. That phone on your nightstand is not as innocent as you might think. Same thing with that smart TV or smart home device in the bedroom. Many of you are on devices around the clock which affects your sleep health.
In today's digital age, you're probably suffering from fear and anxiety, called Fear of Missing Out. With social media and other online platforms, you don't want to miss out on that important email, phone call, or text message. Suffering from this can translate into difficulty getting to sleep or a night of restless sleep. Also, the light from your phone screen in the dark reduces the body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is an important hormone that's responsible for helping the body maintain a circadian rhythm which is the day-night cycle that dictates when your body should be asleep or awake. When you have a loss of melatonin, that sleep pattern is disrupted. Here are some things you can do to keep a healthy balance between technology and sleep:
1. Start with a 'no screens' in the bedroom rule. When it comes to you and your family, you need to reduce or remove the technology that's in your bedrooms. Obviously, this means, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and E-Readers, but consider removing smart TVs, and smart home devices such as Alexa and Google Home. The same goes for your kids. Technology is designed to be addictive and it's hard for your children to put down their devices. Removing screens from the bedroom is a big step to help their young minds develop fully without the interference from screens that can cause sleeplessness, irritability, and screen addiction.
2. Reduce your screen use before bedtime. That hour or two before you turn in should be a time when you turn off your device and allow you brain to relax. You probably aren't aware, but your tech devices cause a large amount of stimulus which doesn't allow the brain to relax for hours. Find other things to relax your mind, such as reading a book, meditating or other non-screen hobbies.
3. Use a Blue Light Filter and Dark mode. If you're one of those people who has to have screen devices in the bedroom, make sure you turn on Dark Mode or a Blue Light Filter. The blue light that emits from your smartphone and other screen devices, can have a very negative effect on your sleep. Current models of iPhone and Android phones have the ability to turn on a blue light filter when nighttime rolls around. Here's how you can do it on your smartphone and other devices.
Android: You should be able to find the filter under Settings > Display. Look for an option for Night Light or Blue Light filter and turn it on.
As mentioned above, one of the main reasons you should avoid using your smartphone or other light-emitting devices close to or during your bedtime is because the blue light emitted from their screens negatively impacts your sleep cycle.
Apple: On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Display & Brightness. Tap the Night Shift setting, which alters your screen to display colors of a warmer color temperature, filtering out blue light.
Windows and Apple computers also have blue light filters as well.
In Windows 10, go to Settings > System > Display and toggle the Night light switch to turn on the feature.
On iMac and MacBook: Night Shift can also be set specifically for Sunset to Sunrise, but if you don’t see that option, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services and turn on the Setting Time Zone
You can also consider getting a pair of blue light filter eyeglasses you can get to help reduce the amount of blue light you receive.
Hopefully, this post has given you the information you need to help reduce the amount of blue light you're exposed to from your smartphone and other devices. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!
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