From young children to students to adults, our days are busy, stressful and, quite frankly, tiring! The need (or requirement) to be accessible and plugged in 24/7 is taking a toll on our sleeping habits, making it harder to fall or stay asleep.
Many electronics, like TVs, tablets, computers and phones emit a blue light that disrupts our body’s natural sleep cycle, keeping us awake when our bodies are trying to sleep. This light makes its way to our brain, telling it to suppress melatonin production, which promotes sleep, therefore keeping us up when we want to be sleeping.
The National Sleep Foundation looked at the sleep habits of almost 2,000 people earlier this year. Below are some statistics on electronic use before bed across all age groups.
- 95 percent of those polled reported using electronics – TV, computers, video games or phones at least a few nights a week before bed.
- 61 percent said they use their laptops or computers at least one hour before bed, many times while in bed.
- 40 percent of people said they have responded to an email or text in the middle of the night.
- Nearly 90 percent of adults and 75 percent of children reported having at least one electronic device in their bedrooms.
There are many ways to put an end to these sleep statistics, but it will require changing habits throughout the evening. Here are some of our recommended changes:
- Start having your children and teens work on homework early in the evening, limit their recreational use afterwards, and implement a mandatory power down or even a charging time at least an hour before bed to help aid sleep.
- Set an alarm to remind you to shut down all electronics and instead read a book, meditate or meal plan for the next day.
- Do not bring your laptop or phones into the bedroom, but if you need to bring them in, avoid using the devices while actually in bed.
- Increase your exposure to natural sunlight during the day to help balance or reset your body’s natural clock, which can help sleep at night.
If you or someone you know if having trouble falling or staying asleep each night, even after a few weeks of implementing some of these changes, we encourage you to reach out to a doctor at Iowa Sleep. Our staff has more than 24 years of experience helping Iowans sleep well each night. If you have a question about sleep or your sleep habits, feel free to use our online form or call us to set up an appointment at 855.346.8899.