Electronics have taken over many aspects of our lives. From monitoring your breathing and activity to tracking your REM cycles and keeping grocery lists, technology is all-pervasive. Have you ever wondered how you can get a better night's rest and quality sleep with all these things competing for your attention? Let's look at five reasons to avoid technological devices in the bedroom, and explore how mixing technology and sleep can impact your sleep and overall health.
The Harmful Effects of Technology on Sleep
Sleep is important because it allows your body and mind to recharge so you’re ready for the next day. But did you know that using your electronic devices at bedtime can negatively impact your sleep or is the root of some sleep disorders?
Humans were not designed to sleep surrounded by the radiation, signals, notifications, and bright blue light screens that are standard with today's technology. We have spent thousands of years without technology in the bedroom, so it may be a good idea to revert to simpler times when it comes to bedtime.
If you’re having difficulty falling asleep at night and want to learn about how electronics affect sleep, read on. Here are five reasons to avoid technology in the bedroom.
1. Blue light keeps you awake.
Your phone, computer, and other electronics emit blue light. This type of light stimulates your brain and keeps you awake. When you go to sleep, your brain needs to begin to wind down. With blue light coming from technology in the bedroom, your brain isn't ready to rest.
Exposure to blue light suppresses melatonin production, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. When melatonin is released at night, it helps you relax and get ready for bed. Exposure to blue light at night can result in you staying up later than you should--and getting less sleep.
Take a short break from your devices before you settle down to sleep to minimize the effects of blue light. This means not going to bed with the TV on, lying in bed with your phone, or reading with e-readers. Better yet, try avoiding technology for at least two hours before bed. You'll notice an immediate difference.
If taking a break from electronic devices before bedtime isn’t an option, there are other precautions you can take if you have trouble falling asleep. These will help you minimize the effects of blue light and enhance your REM sleep.
Many phones now have a blue light blocker built into them that can be switched on at night. You can usually find this in your phone's settings, and you’ll know it’s working because your screen colors will look different. If your mobile device doesn’t have this setting, you can put a blue-light-blocking screen on your phone. This will allow you to use it close to bedtime if necessary and still get the sleep you need.
Some companies even sell blue light glasses that work the same way. These are particularly good if you like to watch TV at night. They also allow you to switch between different devices quickly while protecting your brain and eyes from the blue light.
2. Technology is a time-suck.
Technology really can make us "time blind." We’ve all done it: you go to check one thing on Facebook and before you know it you’ve spent two hours scrolling. Even if you don't use social media, likely, you sometimes spend more time on your phone reading articles or online shopping than you intend.
Try setting a technology curfew in your bedroom. Instead of charging your phone on your nightstand, charge it in your living room or your bathroom. Many phones and tablets even have “sleep” modes that can help you to do this or allow you to schedule downtime.
It’s not just phones that steal time from us though. With so many great streaming services now available, TV is also often to blame. Not only does it emit blue light, but most of us are guilty of watching one or two too many episodes of our favorite show when we should be sleeping. One way to avoid this is by removing your TV from your bedroom and making the room your sleep haven. Watch TV in another room, and set a sleep timer on your TV so it will automatically power off.
3. Your bedroom should be for rest and relaxation.
As we’ve said before, your bedroom should be a room for sleeping in. You need a relaxing environment that allows you to wind down at night and get a good night's sleep.
Constant vibrations and notifications on your phone keep your mind on the stress of life and work when you should be winding down for sleep. Although it can be difficult to leave your phone out of your bedroom at night, it’s one of the best things you can do to ensure you get the rest that you deserve.
Keeping technology out of the bedroom can help combat the stress constant communication can bring. Although many of us turn to our phones to connect with others, it’s important to remember how being constantly connected to the world can affect our mood. With no mobile phone, tablet, TV, or computer by your side, you’ll have more time to relax and unwind--and wake up refreshed in the morning.
4. Technology can harm your health.
Besides keeping you from getting a healthy amount of sleep, mobile phones can also impact your health in other negative ways. Every cell phone emits a small amount of electromagnetic radiation (EMF), which may have serious health effects. Most studies conclude that the radiation emitted from cell phones is relatively harmless, but others state that too much exposure may lead to health problems.
The radiation emitted from phones has also been linked to poor sleep quality for those that sleep with them nearby.
While you’re sleeping and don’t need your phone, it doesn’t need to be close to you. If you have to have your phone in the bedroom, make sure it’s on a table or shelf and not sharing your bed with you. Ideally, you shouldn’t use your phone when you're in bed at all. Also, using your phone in bed can make you more likely to fall asleep with it close to you.
Another protection you can consider is a phone cover that blocks EMF radiation.
5. Technology can have a negative impact on your relationships.
Technology can bring us together, but it can also push us further apart. Ever gone to a restaurant and seen a couple of intent on their phones rather than on each other? Many people forget that connecting with those online can often mean neglecting those around us. Spending too much time on your phone, computer, or another device can mean shutting out your partner or family.
If you spend your evenings on your phone or computer, you may be missing ideal quality time and pushing those close to you away. Instead of checking social media and keeping up with your virtual friends, focus on the real people (and animals) in your life.
Often, the reason that we spend so much time on our devices is that we’re so accessible. Friends can use instant messaging apps to contact us whenever they want and it’s very easy to get sucked into conversation.
Although it can be tempting to respond to messages and emails right away, it’s important to take a break from time to time. Put your phone aside at a certain time each evening and focus on those you live with.
Tips for Using Technology at Night
Use Nighttime or Sleep Mode
Most phones and tablets now have night mode built-in to limit your blue light exposure and help you have a better sleep cycle. All you’ll need to do is go into your device's settings to learn more about this. For devices without this feature, you may be able to find an app that can help reduce blue light exposure when using devices.
Download Meditation AppsMeditation apps can help with focused deep breathing, mental clarity, awareness of the present moment, and a more constructive way to deal with thoughts. As well as reducing insomnia-causing anxiety, these apps can help you fall asleep by promoting a sense of calm and ease. There are many different meditation apps available today. Some may provide guided, or silent meditations, mood tracking, meditation timers, deep breathing exercises, and sometimes even prompts to journal during meditation.
Invest in Some “Blue Light Blocker” Glasses
Blue light glasses are perfect for anyone that watches TV or uses a computer before bed and makes it easier to fall asleep. They allow you to switch between devices without having to change settings or add blue light screen blockers.
Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Relaxation is the key to a good night's sleep. Taking a bath can help to relax your muscles before bed. Using relaxing scents in your bath or scented candles can also be helpful. If you're not a bath person, then simply unwinding with a good book can be the perfect way to relax. Books are great to keep you entertained without overstimulating your brain like electronics do, making it easier to fall asleep.
Make Your Bedroom a Screen-Free Zone
The best solution to avoiding technology in the bedroom is to simply remove all your devices. Above, we have highlighted how electronics affect sleep. Making your bedroom a place that is made for sleep and not entertainment can be an excellent way to enhance your sleep quality. Dedicate other rooms in your home to entertainment instead and make your bedroom a screen-free zone.
Decrease Your Daytime and Nighttime Electronics Use
Limiting your electronic usage can be beneficial to your life overall. You'll have more time to focus on important tasks and more time to spend with loved ones. Decreasing your phone use can help you feel less stressed before bed and limit your blue light exposure allowing you to get better REM sleep.
Why Should You Avoid Technology in the Bedroom?
If you want to improve your sleep-wake cycle, then reducing your time on electronic devices can help greatly. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can impact your sleep health and bedtime routine.
Using an electronic device before bed can also impact your relationships with those that you live with. Avoiding screens in the bedroom, playing video games before bed, and reducing your exposure to blue light can have many benefits.
Exposure to blue light can be prevented with blue blocker glasses and other blue light-blocking devices. If you suffer from sleep problems, it's important to consider the negative effect electronic devices can have. Avoiding technology in the bedroom will help your brain settle down for a good night's sleep.
How Can Leesa Help?
Don’t get us wrong, technology is great. After all, you used the internet to order your Leesa mattress and accessories (and thank goodness for that!). Now that you've read how electronics impact sleep, you understand why we avoid technology in the bedroom. Instead, spend some quality unplugged time with your loved ones—and of course, your Leesa.
Let Leesa help you get your best night’s sleep--and wake up refreshed in the morning. Shop the Leesa Mattress.
Should You Have Electronics in Your Bedroom?
Generally, no. Having electronics in your bedroom can inhibit melatonin production (the sleep hormone) and expose you to more blue light, which keeps you awake. Avoid technology in the bedroom to enhance your sleep.
Is it OK to Have a Computer in Your Bedroom?
We admit this is a tough one. When the nation was on lockdown due to the COVID pandemic, many of us had to convert a spot in the bedroom into an office. If that's your case, be sure to do the following steps:
- Log out of your computer
- Turn off the computer's volume
- Close the cover of your laptop
- Otherwise, keep your computer elsewhere.
Is it Harmful to Sleep Next to a Laptop?
We know you have a close, personal relationship with your laptop, but please don't sleep with it! Two reasons: laptops emit blue light and EMF radiation.
Why Shouldn’t You Have your Phone in Your Bedroom?
First, without your phone in your bedroom, you'll avoid the temptation to check social media and emails, play games, or read. Second, leaving your phone elsewhere at night can help you avoid vibrations and notification tones that can disturb your sleep quality. Sleep experts all agree that keeping technology out of the bedroom is an important key to a healthy bedroom environment and restful sleep.
How Long Should you Avoid Using Technology Before Bed?
Ideally, you should avoid technology two hours before sleeping, but at least 30 minutes before. It is important to note that this rule applies to all technology, not just your smartphone; tablets and televisions also emit blue light, which can negatively affect sleep. Consider placing your phone in another room if you have trouble limiting your screen time before bed. You will improve at using electronics at night with time and consistency if you make it a habit.
What is Melatonin’s Role in Sleep?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, then released into the bloodstream. A dark environment induces the pineal gland to produce Melatonin, while light prevents it from doing so. As a result, our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by Melatonin, which synchronizes with night and day. Melatonin also promotes quality and consistent sleep.