I often hear people complaining about difficulty with sleep or still feeling tired when they wake in the morning. While a number of factors can contribute to sleeplessness (e.g. stress, trauma, depression, and shift work, to name a few), one thing you may not have considered is the impact that your screen time has on the quality of your sleep. Hopefully you’re not reading this blog in bed right before you try to sleep! Most of us are guilty of reading one last email, checking social media, texting, or even playing computer/video games in the hour leading up to bed. So, what’s the big deal?
Recent research suggests the use of screens 1 hour before bed is associated with taking longer to fall asleep, decreased melatonin secretion, having less REM sleep, and feeling more sleepy the next morning (Chang, Aeschbach, Duffy, & Czeisler, 2015). Further, another study suggests the use of multiple devices and interactive or stimulating technology use before bed intensifies difficulty with falling asleep. This is concerning since 90 percent of us are using technology within 60 minutes of going to sleep (Gradisar, et al., 2013).
Since we know sleep affects our mood, productivity, and is essential for our health, consider changing your media use before bed.
Here are some ways you can make changes:
See the citations below to read the studies yourself.
Chang, A.M., Aeschbach, D., Duffy, J.F., Czeisler, C.A. (2015). Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. PNAS, 112(4). Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1232.abstract
Gradisar, M., Wolfson, A.R., Harvey, A.G., Hale, L., Rosenberg, R., Czeisler, C.A. (2013). The sleep and technology use of Americans: Findings from the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America Poll. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 9 (12). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24340291
Sara Kind-Michels, MS, LPC, LMFT
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