Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2024 at 2:27 pm    

If you’re like more than 80 percent of Americans, you own a smartphone. But did you know that the convenience and entertainment your smartphone offers you might also be costing you sleep? Studies show that using smartphones before bed significantly impacts the quality and quantity of your sleep, potentially harming your health.

Our circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, relies on environmental cues to control melatonin production, the sleep-inducing hormone. Light exposure is a key factor. Research shows that blue light from smartphones suppresses melatonin production, delaying sleep onset and making it harder to fall asleep.

Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of nighttime smartphone use. Their developing eyes allow more blue light to penetrate the retina compared to adults, which can lead to a more pronounced suppression of melatonin. Given that children and teens often struggle to get sufficient amounts of sleep due to various factors, such as early school start times and heavy academic workloads, the additional disruption caused by smartphone use can exacerbate an existing problem. 

Researchers have connected poor sleep in this age group to a cascade of problems, including struggling in school, difficulty managing emotions, and a higher risk of obesity and depression.

Fortunately, these problems are not insurmountable. By establishing a technology-free sleep environment, you can undo the disruptive influence of smartphones on sleep hygiene. Achieve this by strategically removing smartphones and other electronics from the bedroom entirely.

Implementing a relaxing and screen-free bedtime routine can also help facilitate the transition to sleep. Engaging in calming activities such as reading a book, practicing relaxation techniques, or taking a warm bath can promote a sense of tranquility and prepare the body for rest. Choosing activities that do not involve electronic screens is important to minimize blue light exposure.

When using a smartphone or computer in the evening is unavoidable, blue light-blocking glasses or apps that filter out blue light can help reduce the impact on melatonin production. Additionally, dimming the screen brightness and maintaining a reasonable distance between the device and your eyes can minimize exposure to harmful light.

By making these adjustments to your smartphone habits, you may experience notable improvements in your sleep quality. Falling asleep more easily, waking up feeling refreshed, and maintaining better focus and emotional stability throughout the day are just some potential benefits. Furthermore, consistently achieving the recommended seven to nine hours of quality sleep can contribute to improved long-term health outcomes, reducing the risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health disorders.

However, if you continue to struggle with sleep issues despite implementing these strategies, it is essential to seek professional help. The knowledgeable team at Silent Night Therapy dedicates themselves to helping individuals identify and overcome sleep apnea impacting their sleep quality. If you are experiencing persistent sleep difficulties, schedule a consultation with our team to explore potential solutions tailored to your unique needs.