The tech invasion: when technology creeps into bed

It has well and truly started: the great gadget creep. Technology is marching into our bedroom, affecting our stress levels, our relationships and – worst of all – our sleep.

It has well and truly started: the great gadget creep. Technology is marching into our bedroom, affecting our stress levels, our relationships and – worst of all – our sleep.

It began years ago, when people started keeping televisions in their bedrooms, but they were in the minority.

Then came the Kindles and other reading tablets. But we told ourselves it was just like reading books, so that didn’t count.

Next came the smart phones, and all the other screens that were suddenly usable all over the house thanks to Wi-Fi, which allows us to remain connected everywhere we go, every second of the day.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

Sure, except when it’s robbing you of sleep.

The blue light emitted from all of those screens, from TV to smart phone, suppresses your natural melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone which controls your circadian rhythms; i.e. your sleep–wake cycle. Less melatonin means it’s harder to fall asleep, and makes getting a quality nights rest more difficult.

The thing about sleep is that we need it to perform well in every other aspect of our lives. Without adequate sleep, we often make poor food choices and we may be inclined to exercise less. Meaning we don’t want to sleep as much, so we stay up later and later, playing Candy Crush and stalking old partners on Facebook until the wee hours of the morning. And so the sorry cycle continues.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are steps you can take to take back your quality sleep and it doesn’t have to mean going back to the dark ages.

  1. Make the bedroom a no TV zone – keep those Netflix binges for the living room, and make the bedroom a relaxing haven away from the noise and flickering lights of the television.
  2. Buy an alarm clock and leave your phone out of the bedroom – alarm clocks are making a comeback right now, because they can’t ring in the middle of the night, or flash with a text message from your cousin in Europe at 3am.
  3. If you can’t bear the thought of parting with your phone at night set your Do Not Disturb to come on an hour before bed each night. This will stop all those notifications tempting you to stay up and chat or check Facebook one last time (which we all know will can lead you down a rabbit warren of updates and funny videos that will rob you of another hour of sleep.)
  4. Reduce your exposure to blue light with a circadian screen adjustment app or by wearing Sleep Well glasses, which are designed to minimise the effect blue light can have on your sleep.

Getting quality sleep is a conscious choice, and it takes vigilance to ensure a relaxing environment for your brain to calm down at night. But like anything, these positive measures will quickly become a habit, and you’ll be well rested in no time.

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