Why and When To Unplug for Better Sleep and Wellbeing
Emerald Catron | My Body
Does it seem like you spend a big chunk of your time with your eyes glued to a screen? If so, you could be hijacking your sleep and wellbeing. According to a recent study, unplugging or at least changing your screens before bed could be the key to getting your sleep and your health back on track.
When we don’t sleep, our bodies can’t rest, and they can’t perform many of the functions necessary for healing and good health. In the short term, sleep loss can lead to fatigue, memory loss, and injury, but in the long term, chronic sleep loss has been linked to high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, and depression.
What To Unplug
If it has a screen, you should probably unplug it. TVs, iPads, eReaders, computers and smart phones all emit blue light, similar to daylight, that can interfere with your sleep cycle.
A recent study has shown that people who use iPads, eReaders, and other backlit devices before bed produce 55% less melatonin than people who read a paper book in dim light, if you need motivation to power down.
When To Unplug
It is generally recommended that you turn off your devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Some experts recommend two hours before bedtime is when you should unplug.
If that’s totally unfeasible because of a late-night deadline or other unavoidable reason, consider downloading f.lux, a program that eliminates most of the blue (and some of the green) from your computer screen, according to what time of day it is and where you’re located. In essence, f.lux makes your screen look like the pages of a book under normal lights.
What To Do Instead
Although you could just make your screens more night friendly and carry on as though nothing changed, use the time before bed to unwind and relax: meditate, journal, reflect on your day, or even get your breakfast started if you’re making it in a slow cooker.
Whatever you do instead, don’t do it in bed (especially breakfast)! Experts agree your bed should be reserved for sleep and sex. Anything else might disrupt your sleep.
When you think of all you stand to gain from something as simple as powering down your phone, it really seems like a good night’s sleep is within easy reach.