One of the best ways to improve your sleep quality and quantity is by ditching your electronics before bed. Yes, electronics means cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions. Electronic devices are not only stealing sleep minutes but sleep quality. Which, in turn, leads to feeling less energized and as sharp as you could be the following day. Unfortunately, being glued to a screen before bed has become a habit for most people as our devices are our go-to source for entertainment and information. To properly prepare for a whole night of sleep, it is necessary to shut down our devices so that we can shut down our busy minds to attain the quality sleep our body and brain desire.
How can we wake with more energy and zest for the day ahead? The concept is simple, but the action is not. Turn off your electronics at least thirty minutes before going to sleep. If your bedtime is 9 pm, that means turning your cell phone (and other devices) off at 8:30 pm. Shutting off your electronic devices will allow your mind and body time to wind down. Being without screens glaring back at you will encourage the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep, making it easier to fall asleep by your desired bedtime and wake more easily in the morning without feeling groggy or wanting to hit the snooze. Deep sleep and REM sleep occur at different stages during sleep, and both will be positively influenced by ditching your devices before bed. You can think that deep sleep is responsible for repairing your body (muscles, tissues, ligaments), and REM sleep takes on the role of cleansing the brain-essential for memory and cognitive function.
So if you’re having difficulty falling asleep at night, staying asleep throughout the night, or waking up feeling like you could use an extra hour or two of sleep, consider ditching the electronics at least thirty minutes before bed.
- Establish your bedtime so you know when it is time to turn off the devices
- Turn off or put your cell phone in airplane mode at least 30 minutes before your bedtime.
- Leave your phone in another room if needed, so you’re not tempted to check it through the night.
- Read, journal, talk with a parent to fill the time you would usually use on an electronic device.
- Be as consistent as possible, shutting down the electronics before bed, even on the weekends.