We’ve heard it all before: smartphones are addictive, they’re ruining our mental health and playing havoc with our sleep patterns. But can they really be that bad for us? In short, yes! Here’s how using your phone or laptop in bed could be impacting your health, and what you should do about it…
Light regulates our sleep-wake cycle, (also known as our circadian rhythm), and the blue light emitted from our phone and laptop screens fools the brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This keeps us alert when our brains should be winding down to sleep.
Of course, it’s not just the light from our smartphones that is impacting our health – they're also a source of stress. With all the emails, WhatsApp’s and social media notifications bombarding us by the minute, whether we realise it or not, our phones can be pretty overwhelming. No matter the context of the messages, our bodies will perceive the constant buzzes as stressors, impacting on both our mental health and ability to sleep.
Yet, despite all this, 63 percent of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 actually sleep with their phones or tablets in their beds. Which is why we think the bedroom should be a strictly no-phone zone.
Still need some convincing? According to a 2018 study published in Computers in Human Behavior, the participants who kept their phones in another room whilst they sleep, enjoyed a huge range of benefits, from increased happiness and better quality sleep, to improved relationships and reduced anxiety. It’s no wonder that a full 93.6 percent of them said they might keep it up!
So, what do we recommend for better, tech-free, sleep?
Firstly, stop using your phone at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Set it up either just outside your room, or on the other side of it, so you physically have to get up to use it and can’t be disturbed by a non-important text message in the night.
Invest in an actual alarm clock, and if you want to step things up a gear, try a