What was your sleep and bedtime routine before the internet?
It seems like second nature these days to brush my teeth, change into pyjamas, kiss the dog goodnight, and lay in bed for 30 minutes scrolling through social media on my phone. Last night I had a bout of “counting sheep” after my regular routine, and realized that I am sabotaging my sleep with my habits.
And I honestly can’t remember what I did before I had a cellphone. The internet has always been present in my life, but it wasn’t until the birth of social media that I started depending on pictures and updates to entertain me into a restful state.
Are you guilty of this bedtime habit too?
Using tech before bedtime is a big NO-NO for a few different reasons. The light from the screens stimulates brain activity, making it harder to unwind and shift into the ZZZs. Your brain remains alert and at attention for longer, making your snooze shorter. The blue light from screens also supresses Melatonin, which is a hormone that helps control your sleep/awake cycle.
Disrupted sleep cycle
Even when you aren’t using your phone, having it nearby at night can hinder your sleep. The notifications and chimes of incoming messages can cause sleep interruptions that disrupt the regular sleep patterns. 72% of children ages 6-17 sleep with at least one device in their room, which may lead to a disrupted slumber.
And let’s not forget about the content of what we are seeing right before bed. Stressful news articles, exciting videos jam packed with action, photos we compare ourselves to and judge. All this content can increase our stress response, putting us in an active “fight-or-flight” response. No wonder my sleep has been helter-skelter recently!
What should we do instead?
What did we do before we had the internet?
1. Read a book
2. Write in a journal
3. Meditate, practice breathing exercises, mindfulness
4. Listen to calming music
5. Gentle stretching or yoga
6. Converse with your partner, a friend, your children
It’s time to turn off the tech and get back to healthy bedtime habits! Give yourself at least 30 minutes of tech-free time before bed. Do you have another bedtime trick that helps? Share your ideas with us below!
Also check out these studies to learn more about the adverse effects of screen time: