How will you fall asleep tonight? If you’re like the average American in 2017, it will likely involve a screen of some sort: watching Netflix on your laptop til you doze off, cruising Facebook or news stories til you’re ready to slumber or reading a book on your iPad or phone.
But using screens before bedtime could be ruining your quality of life. Okay, okay, that sounds dramatic, but according to many well-researched studies, it may be true.
Adverse health effects
According to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, reading or browsing on a screen before bedtime not only makes it hard to fall asleep, but can also have major repercussions for how alert you are the next day. “Use of a light-emitting electronic device in the hours before bedtime can adversely impact overall health, alertness, and the circadian clock,” the study findings stated.
Even more scary, this sleep deprivation and chemical imbalances (such as lack of melatonin production) are linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancers. And, staring at screens could be having majorly averse effects on your vision, contributing to damage of the retina.
What can we do?
· Start slowly by quitting screens one hour before bedtime every night.
· Install software like “f.lux” to filter out bad blue light or use the “Nighttime” option on your iPhone to adjust the screen colors.
· Take breaks. Often. Look up and away from your phone or device at least every 15 minutes.
· Make your bedroom your tech-free sanctuary.
· Do not use your phone as your alarm clock and plug it in across the bedroom from you.
· Pretend it’s 1997 and read a real book before bed.