Why You Should Limit Screen Time Before Bed

A woman watching tv before bed.

The Effects of Screen Time Before Bed

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the vast majority of people in the United States use a technological device within an hour of going to bed. More specifically, about 90 percent of people in the U.S. use at least one electronic device before they turn in. Is screen time before bed affecting your sleep?

Many kids and adults find using a tablet, mobile phone or television before bed relaxing. If you’re one of them, you may want to rethink your nighttime routine. Using devices that emit blue light before retiring for the day can stimulate you in ways that have a negative influence on your ability to sleep and the quality of your sleep.

Throws Off Your Internal Clock

Using electronic devices in the hours before bed can throw off your internal clock. When your circadian rhythm is off kilter, it can delay the onset of REM sleep. It can also reduce the amount of time you spend in REM sleep every night.

Suppresses Melatonin Production

The blue light emitted by electronic devices suppresses your body’s production of the natural, sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Without an adequate level of melatonin, it can be difficult to fall asleep. A shortage of melatonin can also make it harder for you to stay asleep throughout the night.

Keeps You Alert

Limiting screen time before bed is a good idea because electronic devices keep you alert during times when you should start to feel drowsy. Even if you feel tired, seeing something like a cliffhanger before a commercial or an upsetting email can snap you back into a hyper-alert state which will trick your brain into thinking it needs to stay awake.

Leads to a Sleep Deficit

If you don’t limit screen time before bed, you’ll lose sleep. Over time, the effects of using electronic devices in the hours before bedtime can cause a chronic sleep deficiency that can have a negative impact on your personal relationships, work, and health.

How to Limit Screen Time Before Bed

If you want to avoid the negative effects that a lasting sleep deficiency can yield, it’s vital for you to take steps to reduce the amount of time you spend using electronic devices before bed, and that includes your television. To do that, you should consider setting a daily curfew at which time you and your family members will stop using devices that emit blue light. Ideally, your curfew will be several hours before bed. If that’s not feasible, make sure your curfew is at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

Another thing you can do is declare the bedrooms in your home device-free areas. Of course, this tactic will only be effective if you spend time in your bedroom before you go to sleep. Skip the blue light from your devices and settle in with everything you need for a good night’s sleep from Ben’s.

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