In this tech-filled day and age, many of us feel like our cell phones are an extension of our arms. But if you're wondering why you can't seem to get the rest you need for energized days, your favorite tech gadget may be to blame.
Cell Phones and Sleep
When do you normally put down your phone for the day? For many of us, the last thing we do is check our email, messages and social media before setting the alarm clock app. After that, we probably return our phone to its nighttime home - our nightstand. It sits within a foot or two of our heads or worse, we place our phones next to our pillows right on the bed. Sound familiar?
The problem with this practice is it prevents our minds from ever really "shutting off" for the night. Ever wonder why you're suddenly so adept at waking up to just the vibration of your phone or the beep of a text message? The type of light let off by cell phone screens is similar to daylight. When the body senses daylight, it has trouble producing melatonin, the hormone that helps your body fall asleep. This will also disrupt your circadian rhythm, which is a system of physical and mental responses to light changes that also trigger sleep. Whether it's before you go to bed or if your phone goes off during the night, the lit-up screen could be to blame for why you all of a sudden don't feel tired and can't fall asleep. Or why you're suddenly awake in the middle of the night. These effects were observed in a recent study that also found individuals who sleep in close proximity to their phones were more prone to headaches.
Ditching Your Phone
Thankfully, this problem is an easy fix, but it will mean cutting back on your phone time to get those Zzz's you need. Here are some strategies to try:Buy an alarm clock. That's right, a good old -fashioned alarm clock to wake yourself up in the morning.Charge your phone for the night in the bathroom or, even better, the kitchen. Anywhere you can't hear it or see it light up.If reading helps you fall asleep, pick up a book. Not a tablet - the light from a tablet can have the same effect as a phone.Set a technology bedtime for your entire household. This is a time when the TV, stereo and any cell phones get shut off for the night. Ideally, two hours before going to bed.
More Tips for Better Sleep
Once you've gotten rid of your phone from your bedtime routine, you may be wondering what you can replace it with to help you unwind from the stress and activity of the day. If you still find you're having trouble getting your body and mind to quiet down, try these things:Spend five to ten minutes meditating to help clear your mind.Try drinking tart cherry juice before bed, which contains a safe amount of melatonin.Use a sleep mask to block out additional light.Practice breathing exercises to further calm yourself.
Breaking free fro your phone could be the exact solution to your sleep woes.