The hours you spend every day tending to your web tasks expose you to artificial blue light. While blue light emissions from your tablet or phone screens are safe for the environment, at high doses, they wreak havoc with your sleep.
For those of you look at screens all day long, we recommend you commit to stashing your screens elsewhere when it comes time to rest. “Elsewhere” is code for “not in the bedroom!”
BLUE-FREE SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
These days, nine of 10 Americans are cuddling with their phone or tablet in the hours right before bedtime. Why do you need that much screen time before going to bed? You reply …
- “I need to wind down.”
- “It doesn’t keep me up.”
- “It’s a good time to check emails and get a start on the next day.”
We respond …
- “No, you don’t.”
- “Yes, it does.”
- “It can wait.”
The short wave blue light tricks the brain to thinking it needs to stay awake, even if you’re exhausted from a long work day. The blue light keeps you awake. It delays the release of the sleep hormone melatonin and REM sleep.
All adults aged 18+, yes, even seniors, need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. The blue light delays the process and robs you of precious minutes of rest, relaxation, healing and rejuvenation. Without enough sleep, you are not just cranky and lethargic, your body breaks down and puts you in danger of developing insomnia, depression and weight gain.
Start breaking that habit. First rule for adults and kids alike, no electronics at least an hour before bedtime. If you need to wind down, try the old-school hack of reading books using a regular lamp. That light doesn’t disrupt your sleep rhythm like blue light does.
And while you’re at it, take a look at your room and how it is or isn’t set up for sleep. Kick the TV out. Plug in your phone to recharge somewhere outside of the bedroom.
Do you have a bedside lamp for reading? The smaller bulb on the lamp is less harsh than an overhead light. Is the temperature in your room cool—around 68 degrees? It’s easier to fall asleep in a cool room as opposed to a warm one.
Is your mattress comfortable? If it isn’t, the rest of it won’t matter. When was the last time you bought a new mattress? Has it been over 8 years? Yeah, you’re due. Start by learning about mattresses in general. Basically, the whole industry got tossed on its head since the last time you purchased one and you should be well-versed on everything about mattresses from cost and materials to edge support and firmness levels.
And we all have different musculoskeletal needs from a mattress. A cool 40 percent of humans sleep on their sides. Side sleepers need a mattress that can both support the head and neck while contouring to shoulders and hips.
Or if you’re waking up with back pain, it’s possible your mattress is buckling in the wrong areas. There are mattresses designed with the medium-firm feel you need and other features to keep your spine aligned to prevent back pain.
Ignoring your phones and tablets as you get closer to bedtime needn’t feel like such a sacrifice. No one is asking you to cut off a limb. Still, we advise you chop off that proverbial limb because it’s better for your health.
Whether your work is running an e-commerce site, troubleshooting tech issues at a company or becoming a YouTube star, you have to take heed to counter the effects of so much screen time. Your business will not thrive if you start each day at a sleep deficit.
Sleep first. Conquer the virtual world second.