Do you like to watch TV in bed? Do you check your phone before going to sleep? Are you sleeping well?
You know it’s better to avoid using your phone or tablet in the hours before you go to bed. I hope you’re making strides towards putting your phone away at night, but I would like to suggest taking it a step further and banning all screens from your bedroom. Instead, make it a sanctuary designed for sleep and maybe another bedroom activity.
There are some very good reasons why you should keep screens out of your bedroom. First, let’s talk about what type of screens. The obvious one is a TV or computer. Unless there is no other way, keep them out of your bedroom. If you need to have a computer in there because the bedroom is also your home office, power everything off and unplug it before bedtime. There will be no blinking lights or fans coming on that could disrupt your much deserved rest. You also won’t be tempted to sneak one last check of email or to turn on the TV to catch up on your favourite TV show when you should be sleeping.
Of course keeping your smartphone on your bedside table can cause much of the same problem. Even if you silence your phone, there’s a good chance it will blink or the screen will light up in the night. And if nothing else, you’ll be tempted to check what time it is or if you’ve gotten any messages if and when you wake up in the middle of the night. Having your phone within arm’s reach makes it too tempting to turn it on. This in turn will not only flood your eyes with intense light that mimics sunlight. It also gets your brain going when you see a few email subject lines or alerts on the screen. Both will make it much harder to fall back asleep.
What if you need your phone because you use it as an alarm clock? Simple. Buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave your phone in the kitchen or living room. It can charge there without you, trust me. One of the best things you can do for a better night’s sleep is to stop looking at your phone an hour or two before bed. And don’t even think about replacing it with a tablet or e-reader.
One of the big problems with any type of screen is something I alluded to earlier. Screens put off a type of blue light that when it hits the back of your eyes, tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime instead of night time. Filters and blue-light blocking glasses can help some, but it’s best to avoid using them late at night and definitely if you wake up in the middle of the night. Try it and see for yourself how much of a difference it makes.