Whether it was love at first sight, a childlike fascination or a long courtship that tested your patience and understanding, the commitment you made to your electronic devices is rock solid. At first it was an innocent flirtation with a simple desktop PC, then a laptop caught your eye and before you could say USB port, you were head-over-heels in love with all shapes and sizes of electronics.
The important thing to remember is that you have to draw the line somewhere. You have to say no when it comes to sleeping with your electronics. In fact, your life would be better if you didn’t let them in your bedroom at all. But, as long as you keep them silent and dark, they won’t disturb your fragile sleep patterns.
Fending Off The Blues
Shedding light on objects and ideas is usually positive, but not if the light is electronic blue. While blue light makes it easy to see a computer, smartphone, e-reader, tablet and TV screens in the dark, that super concentrated light intensely penetrates retinal photoreceptors with the potency of bright sunlight.
If you are in bed with one of your beloved electronic devices, that light tells your brain that you are outside on a sunny day and prevents the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that, upon release, induces sleep. The longer you ignore this lifelong friend, the harder it is to fall asleep and stay asleep all night.
Silence Is Golden
Even if you shroud all your electronics in impenetrable black blankets, you can still hear the multitude of sounds they create. You’re experienced, so you know most of the sounds mean absolutely nothing important enough to elicit a response.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that 10 percent of Americans are roused from a good sleep several times a week with beeps and chimes to notify them of something of no importance. The one out of five Americans who also leave their cell phone ringers on when they go to bed makes the situation worse. Keep in mind that studies have additionally determined that Wi-Fi and electromagnetic signals can decrease the quality of your sleep even when you silence your phone.
Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Phones aren’t the only devices keeping you from restful sleep. Playing video games or merely texting at bedtime is more likely to block the production of melatonin and interfere with your peaceful slumber than a passive activity such as TV viewing.
The negative effects are exacerbated when you hold a phone or tablet close to your eyes. This theory was supported by a study that discovered reading books on e-readers made falling asleep take 10 minutes longer than reading a standard paper book. E-books were also found to cut the release of melatonin in half and significantly reduced subjects’ time in the REM stage of sleep. The reality is bringing any electronic device into the bedroom is going to negatively affect your quality of sleep.
Warm And Fuzzy
Goodnight Moon isn’t a favorite children’s book because of its illustrations or limited number of words. Parents love it because the sing-songy text is calming and the images inspired by the words are warm and inviting, all the ingredients that lull children to sleep fastest. The same principle applies to adults: Warm and fuzzy thoughts will put you to sleep and ensure a restful slumber more than stimulating entertainment.
When you watch a movie full of car chases, violence and things that lurk in darkness, play a video game with similar components, talk on the phone or read disturbing emails around bedtime, dozing off into slumberland is nearly impossible. These seemingly innocent activities prompt your body’s cortisol levels to naturally rise and your melatonin production to plummet, making a restful and full night of sleep challenging.
Healthy living is about much more than eating sensibly and regularly exercising. Ideally, you spend around a third of your life sleeping, so make sure you are getting the maximum benefits from it to stave off stress. Cheating is never acceptable, but you already knew that.