How Electronics Affect Sleep
How Electronics Affect Sleep
It is undeniable that technology occupies a gigantic place in our daily life. Cellphones, tablets, laptops, televisions, and other electronic devices are always present for our service and entertainment.
They make our life easier in a lot of ways and it is almost impossible to picture how we could function without them.
Screens are very well distributed around us. They capture our attention with incredible ease, and the amount of time we spend looking at them is truly unbelievable. According to recent studies, the average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes a day facing screens.
Of all that time spent in front of screens, a portion is used right before going to bed. Most of us take that time to watch a movie with our family or to scroll through social media. A lot of people think this is a great way to relax before going to sleep, however, it is actually the reason a lot of people end up with poor sleep quality.
The impact that electronics have on our ability to fall asleep is very well documented. You can read about this issue from multiple sources, like the National Sleep Foundation. In this blog, we’ll be going over this important subject to help you understand how screens can be an issue for a good night of rest and what you can do to avoid complications that may lead to sleep disorders or difficulty falling asleep.
Blue light and electronics
To properly understand how electronics affect sleep, we have to introduce you to the concept of blue light. Blue light is the responsible party when it comes to interfering with your sleep quality, so let's get into it.
What is blue light?
Blue light is also known as HEV light, an acronym that stands for high-energy visible light. It is a color that can be seen by humans since it is in the spectrum of visible light.
Now, the interesting part is that human eyes cannot filter blue light as effectively as other colors. This is important because it means that more light can pass unfiltered from the eye to the retina, which brings advantages and disadvantages to our health.
What are the sources of blue light?
Now that you understand what blue light is, we’ll explain what the common sources are. We are exposed to blue light almost all the time since the major source of it is sunlight.
However, the second most common source is electronics. Blue light is emitted from screens. This is how things get complicated, because of the proximity in which we use screens and the number of daily hours spent using them, we are overly exposed to blue light. This brings unwanted consequences for our sleep quality.
How is blue light disrupting our sleep?
The basic reason why blue light creates difficulties in falling asleep is because it can interfere with the body’s natural production of melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that is responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycles and getting the body ready for the night.
Melatonin helps the body prepare for sleep, as the production of melatonin increases during the day, your body starts getting more sleepy.
This is the natural progression we face day by day. Melatonin production increases when it gets dark and decreases when we are exposed to light.
Before the eruption of technology, humans were regulated by sunlight and followed a simple pattern. Nowadays, technology has introduced us to a world where we are constantly exposed to blue light, which can have a huge impact on how we regulate our sleep cycle.
According to evidence presented by Harvard, blue light during the night is the most disruptive light for melatonin production.
At the end of the day, the amount of screen time you accumulated disrupts the body’s production and absorption of melatonin, preventing drowsiness. This gets even worse if you use an electronic device before going to sleep.
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Reducing the effects of blue light
Now that you understand what blue light is and how it is connected to sleep deprivation, you are probably wondering if there is a way to avoid or diminish its effects.
As you can imagine, it is quite hard to avoid technology altogether, and luckily you don't really have to. We are going to go through a couple of tips you can use to reduce your exposure to screens and how you can handle the nights a little better.
First, we’ll cover some of the tips you can use for reducing blue light exposure in your life, and then we’ll go over how you can transform your bedroom into a sleep-ready, technology-free zone.
Reducing blue light exposure
In this section will explain how you can reduce and filter some of the blue light our eyes are exposed to every day. Let's get into it!
Avoid electronics before bed
The first recommendation is the most obvious one. Try to avoid exposure to screens before bedtime. Doing this will help your body regulate the production of melatonin, and that will help you reach the progression of your natural sleep patterns.
Ideally, you should have at least two hours of screen-free time before bed, but if you find yourself unable to comply with this routine, you can try thirty minutes and see how you feel. At the very least, avoid using screens directly on the bed.
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Set up a schedule for using electronics
Setting up a schedule will help you keep track of the time you are using technology and when you should stop for the day. Following the schedule will help you establish a pattern that will get easier to accomplish day after day. It’s about building healthy habits.
Take breaks when using screens
For every hour of use, you should take three or four breaks to mitigate the impact of blue light. Be conscious about the time you spend using technology and set up alarms to keep track of the time.
It is important to do this throughout the day, not only in the evening!
Try a blue light filter on your gadgets
Science is still not decided on whether blue light filters actually work, but there are a lot of apps that are worth trying. You can download them and see how you feel using them and keep track of possible changes in your sleeping routine.
Get a screen protector for your phone
There are screen protectors that filter blue light. You can buy one and install it on your phone. You should know that there are also blue light glasses in the market you can purchase.
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Dim the light on your screens
Cell phones and tablets allow for brightness regulation. Take full advantage of this setting to minimize the impact of blue light
Go dark mode
When you are using apps or visiting some websites, you should know that a lot of them have a dark mode setting, also known as night mode. This is a great feature that can help diminish the amount of blue light you take in by using darker colors on the display.
We know technology is an amazing asset to have, so it is pretty hard to keep it out of the bedroom. However, removing all tech from the bedroom is a great way to create a space that will truly serve its main purpose: achieving a good night’s sleep.
Sleeping is fundamental for your quality of life, and when you see the benefits that creating a tech-free bedroom has on your sleep health, you’ll see that it is a small price to pay.
The obvious first step would be to remove all your devices from your room, but let’s take it step by step by introducing the following ideas.
Remove all nonessential devices
We know it's going to be challenging, but give this a try, and you’ll see progress. Start by removing the easiest devices from your room. You don’t need a television or an office computer in your room.
Move them into your living room and use them there, when you get used to this habit, you can build upon it to get your room where it needs to be.
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Use a designated space for electronics
The idea is pretty simple, just choose a place outside of the bedroom where you will store your electronics when it is time to sleep. Ideally you should choose a place where you can charge them so they are at full capacity the following day.
Keep the bedroom lights dim
Light bulbs are also a source of blue light, so ideally, you should keep them as dim as possible in the bedroom.
Invest in blackout curtains
As we’ve explained before, one of the main sources of blue light is the sun. So it would be a good idea to invest in a quality set of black-out curtains, to keep as much light as possible from entering your room.
Take a look at our Blackout Curtains for a set that will keep blue light at bay while adding style and elegance to your bedroom.
Technology brings a lot of benefits to our life, but they also come with some unwanted disadvantages. We hope this blog has helped you understand how technology can affect sleep while providing some tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones from this undesirable consequence.
Don’t forget to check on the following products, they are sure to help you improve the quality of your sleep:
Block out 99% of light and UV rays with our Blackout Curtains. They can also reduce outside noise and help in keeping the temperature in your room by reducing unwanted heat or cold.
Optimize the comfort in your bed by using our Premium Body Pillow. Its length is guaranteed to provide the support you need either for sleeping or reading on the bed.
Upgrade the support for your neck with our Premium Bed Pillows. They are soft and ultra-breathable, making the nights as pleasurable as possible.
For a sheet set that is warm and cozy, try our Flannel Cotton Sheet Set, Lightweight 160GSM. They are perfect for cold temperatures.
If you want a sheet set that will keep you fresh on summer nights and warm on winter nights, go for our 1800 Collection Microfiber Bed Sheet Set with Colorful Prints.