Sleep Hygiene Series: Why No Electronics Before Bedtime?

Have you ever heard the phrase “sleep hygiene”? It sounds like a weird phrase, but it’s what sleep experts use to talk about all the things you should do (and shouldn’t do) to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping each night, there’s plenty you can do to help with, or fix, your insomnia. And one of the greatest enemies of your sleep is your electronic devices

The Screens Are Killing Your Sleep

Yeah, we get it: your iPhones, iPads, Androids, and Kindles are awesome. They can help you get connected, find information, and stay entertained. But what they’re not awesome at doing is helping you sleep at night. In fact, almost any sleep expert you can find will tell you that you should stay far away from all screens at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. And that includes

  • Phones
  • Tablets
  • TVs
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • eReaders

The reality is that Twitter and Facebook are only going to disrupt your sleep and keep you tossing and turning all night. 

Why Avoid the Electronics?

But why do all these smart devices have such a terrible effect on your sleep? The answer is found in the way your brain reacts to light:

  • Your circadian rhythm (basically a fancy word for your sleep cycle) is tied to light. That’s why we get sleepy when it gets dark.
  • Bright light, which is produced by LCD screens and LEDs, suppresses “melatonin secretion. That makes it harder to fall asleep,” said Dr. Ronald Popper, at he Southern California Pulmonary & Sleep Disorders Medical Center.

What Should I Do Instead?

There are plenty of good habits that you can get into that can help you sleep better every night. The research shows that all these things are good for your sleep:

Bed=sleep (and sex)
Scientists recommend that only two things happen on your bed: sleep and sex. By keeping it to these two activities, your brain knows to get sleepy when you’re in bed. Never, never do any work on your laptop in bed.

Wind down
At least 2-3 hours before bedtime, turn off the TV. Shut down your phone and tablet. Make a mug of sleepytime tea. You can even meditate, which is a great way to get centered and calm.

Dark bedroom
Your bedroom should really be as dark as possible. That’s one of the best ways to get your brain into sleepy-mode when you climb into bed.

Get a great mattress and pillow
Some things are worth investing in. A high-quality mattress and pillow can make a huge difference in how you sleep.