Your body has a natural internal “clock.” Light and darkness help your body clock keep time and know when to sleep and when to be awake. Blue light from electronics can make your body think it is time to be awake, even if it actually night. Regular use of electronics before bed can reset your body clock and make it harder for you to sleep at night.
“Studies show that staring at bright screens within four hours of bedtime reduces melatonin, a hormone that makes you naturally tired when it’s time to sleep” (PRN). Melatonin is one way your body regulates your body clock. Decreased levels of melatonin can make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep.
If you don’t get enough sleep your performance at work, your mood, and even your relationships can be affected. It is commonly accepted that 7-9 hours of sleep are important to maintain good health. Here are some tips to help you get a better, electronic free, night’s sleep:
- Turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed.
- If you don’t want to turn your phone off at least silence it or put it on airplane mode.
- Use the “Night Shift” mode on your iPhone (Android phones have a similar function). Click here to see how.
- Don’t put your phone close to your bed. You might be tempted to check it.
Optometrist Dr. Gary Morgan offered a few more suggestions:
- “Observe the 20/20/20 Rule: Give eyes a break every 20 minutes and spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away.
- “Lower Screen Brightness: Turn down the brightness level of device screens to reduce blue light exposure, especially during evening hours.” (The Oakland Press)
Experiment with these tips and find a system that works for you. We hope you will enjoy improved sleep in days to come. Leave us a comment and let us know what worked for you!