How Glowing Screens Affect Your Sleep
There's no denying it: Smartphones have had a profound impact on our day-to-day behaviors. From the way we stay entertained on the subway to the way we lull ourselves to sleep at night, mobile technology has considerably changed the way we act in certain situations.
If you sleep with your phone, you're not alone - according to the Pew Research Center, more than 65 percent of people living in the U.S. sleep with their phones on their beds. This figure jumps up to 90 percent when it comes to young adults between the ages of 18 and 29.
"More than 90 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 sleep with their phones on their beds."
But what kind of an effect are our phones having on our sleep? Turns out, it may not be such a good idea to sleep next to your smartphone.
Checking Updates Before Bed May Impact Sleep Success
The glowing screens from your smartphones, tablets, e-readers and laptops may impede your body's ability to get a good night's sleep, according to research conducted by scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Looking at these lights before bed may hamper the body's ability to produce melatonin, the sleep-causing hormone essential to a good night's rest.
"It seems that our use of these devices in the evening before bedtime really has this negative impact on our sleep and on your circadian rhythms," neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang, who led the study, explained to The Boston Globe.
Because these devices impede the body's biological clock from operating like normal, they often wreak havoc on our sleep habits. The study found that those who engaged with a digital screen right before bedtime often felt less alert the next morning, and they took twice as long to fall asleep than those who did not.
Tips for Reducing the Impact of Digital Screens
So without ditching the digital screen altogether, how do you stop your phone from negatively impacting your sleep? For starters, experts recommend moving the device from your bed. Even keeping your phone on a bedside table - or on the floor next to your bed - can reap beneficial results. Moving your phone away from your face at night can also prevent those alerts from rousing you from your slumber.
Researchers also recommend that you refrain from interacting with digital screens for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Try reading a physical book or magazine instead, as these items may be much healthier for your sleep health. Curl up with your favorite heated blanket while you read for a more successful night's sleep.