Why You Should Stop Using Your Phone Before Bedtime
Using your smart phone and especially looking at a bright screen can increase your risk of insomnia, or at least lead to not getting a restful, good nights sleep. If you do need to use your phone at night, at least put it into “dark” mode. This will help you brain wind down rather than stimulate it. On most smart phones you can set this feature to operate automatically. This is not, however, an alternative to putting your phone away.
When you look at your phone screen before going to bed, your brain will end up producing a stress hormone called Cortisol. This hormone will not help you sleep. You want your body to produce Melatonin before bedtime. That’s the hormone that can aid in a good night’s sleep. In fact, any light on in the room can increase Cortisol and decrease Melatonin production. It’s a good idea to try to unwind with something relaxing before bed, like a cup of herbal tea or meditation.
Looking at your phone screen before bed can disrupt REM Sleep. REM means Rapid Eye Movement. This occurs when people dream. It’s important to reach the stage of REM sleep in order to properly restore your mind and body. After all, that’s the whole purpose of sleeping! If you don’t reach REM sleep, you can toss and turn and wake up feeling tired and irritable or have trouble concentrating. It can also affect your nervous system, which also needs to rejuvenate during sleep.
Your Body Clock
Yes, everyone’s body has its own internal clock, which is called the Circadian Rhythm. This means your body knows the 24-hour cycle and develops its own internal rhythm based upon daylight, night time, and your own activities. Basically this means our bodies are designed to sleep when its dark, wake when its light, and be active and eat well. Your internal clock can be affected if you throw it off its natural rhythm. That’s why experts advise you should keep yourself in a healthy routine of going to bed and waking at the same time every day.
Set a Reminder
Your smart phone is just that for a reason. It has features you should take advantage of for your own wellbeing. One of these is the “Reminder” function. You can set a recurring reminder to tell yourself to put the phone away each night at least an hour before bedtime. That way, if you lose track of time because you're distracted on your phone, an alert will pop up to remind you to put your phone away.
Your smart phone also has a Do Not Disturb mode that, when turned on, will mute incoming messages and calls, (with the exception of phone numbers you select, so if your phone does ring in Do Not Disturb mode, you’ll know it’s important enough to wake up and answer it). Giving up your smart phone or tablet right before bed can almost be equated to dieting for your mind. You’re not being asked to give up anything, only to scale back a bit for the better health of your mind and body. Now put your phone down and go get some sleep!
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