Can Your Smart Phone Be Causing Your Insomnia?


Looking for a good night’s sleep? If you don’t want to spend your nights counting sheep you may want to think twice before checking your phone regularly before bed. With the increasing popularity of hand-held digital devices, there has been a rise of patients with screen-related sleep problems. Recent research suggests that exposure to artificial light from tablets may be the reason for the increase in sleep disorders.

The reason for this is because devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets can emit around 50 lux, which is enough to delay the timing of your body’s natural circadian rhythm (think body clock). Additionally, it can lower the production of melatonin, a major hormone that is produced by your body when it’s trying to control sleep and wake cycles. When you stare at the backlit portable screen of your laptop, phone or tablet, it shines short-wavelength, blue light, into your eyes. This stimulates your brain, telling it to stay awake and sending conflicting signals, which slows melatonin production. The biological side effect is difficulty falling or staying asleep. Keeping electronics out of the bedroom entirely will also create an environmental connection in your mind establishing that your bedroom is a place of rest, and sleeping, not for studying, working or socializing. Research has shown that this can help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and sleep more deeply which has lasting health benefits.

So if you want to check your email, send a final text, play one more game, or watch one last show do it an hour to two hours before bed time. This will reduce or eliminate melatonin-suppressing effects of artificial light exposure and your body will enjoy a much better night’s sleep.

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