One of the most unsettling and disturbing things that can happen to our sleep cycle is the very thing most of us do immediately before, during, and immediately after sleeping. It’s something we take into our bedroom with us that truly has no place. It’s something thats supposed to help us be unplugged but ultimately keeps us connected, even when our bodies are supposed to rest, relax, reset, and recharge.
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that its your smartphone.
I used to be in the nasty habit of taking my phone to bed with me. I used the excuse that it was my alarm clock, so I had to keep it plugged in right next to me. This seemingly innocent and necessary step that was part of my bedtime routine in fact was the very thing disturbing my sleep the most.
Not only did I lie in bed looking at the blue light emitting from it for far longer than ever intended, keeping me up into the wee hours of the night, way past my bedtime; but it was also the first thing I looked at in the morning. These are two highly disturbing habits that effect not only our sleep, but our biology, and mindset.
I’ll get into the first two in a moment, but for now, just think, what are the benefits to having your smartphone being the last thing you look at before falling asleep and first thing you look at upon waking? I can’t think of many… In fact, looking at your phone first thing in the morning causes your mind to be overloaded with a plethora of notifications, resulting in cortisol flooding your system, and immediately sets your day off with a focus on what the world is expecting and demanding of you. It takes the control right out of your hands and gives it to an external source to dictate how you’re mind is prepared to go about the day before you. Considering the flip side, staring at your phone before laying your head on the pillow at night often begins with an innocent thought of checking one last thing. Before you know it the sneaky device built for the purpose of keeping your eyes on it has kept you checking notifications or in the social media scroll for 20 minutes, or worse an hour. Now you’re up past your bed time with a mind filled with thoughts about what you didn’t accomplish, what you still need to accomplish, comparison mindset, and more.
Staring at the blue light on your smartphone within 30 minutes of sleep suppresses melatonin production, keeps your mind psychologically engaged, and delays your mind’s ability to reach a REM sleep cycle.
Sleeping with your smartphone in your bedroom wakes you up multiple times throughout the night, most often without even realizing it. In those moments that we do realize it, it often grabs our attention with its oppressive blue light, restarting the psychological engagement of our brains.
Sleeping with your smartphone next to your bed is perhaps one of the worst things you can do as they emit radiation. Even in small amounts the radiation and effect your sleep cycle.
According to the CDC website in a press release from 2016, “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.”
The CDC also shares that “35.2% of all adults in the U.S. report sleeping on average for less than seven hours per night.”
Proper sleep hygiene begins with what you take into your bedroom with you. Purchasing an old fashioned alarm clock and charging my smartphone in the living room at night has been the single most impactful change to a restful nights sleep and intentional living in my life. I encourage everyone to consider the impacts and possibilities attached to doing the very same thing.