How Technology Influences Your Sleeping Habits
Technology has become inseparable from most people’s daily lives. It changes how you go about your everyday routines, jobs, socializing, and entertainment. Some may even go so far as to say technology is now necessary. Even more necessary, though, is sleep.
If you’re like many people, bringing your phone to bed to unwind is a daily occurrence. However, it affects your sleep in different ways. What tech can make your sleeping patterns worse? What tech can help?
How Does Technology Affect Our Sleep?
Every now and then, you may have to forgo a few hours of sleep. If you have to get up early one morning, the grogginess kicks in the second you wake up. Humans need sleep — that’s an inarguable fact. The average adult needs seven to nine hours a night. When you lose a few of these hours, it may feel unhealthy and detrimental. Some side effects of sleep loss include:
- Feeling sick
- Weakened immune system
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Mood changes
- Inability to focus
- Changes in quality of work
- Weight gain
What you might not realize, though, is that technology can have similar effects on your sleeping patterns and behaviors.
Blue light is abundant — it’s in your devices, fluorescent lighting, and even the sun. Though it’s common, it can have negative effects on your eyes and sleep schedule. It’s harsh, it strains your eyes and it wakes you up when you want to go to sleep. Even checking your phone quickly in the middle of the night can wake you up and disrupt your schedule.
In fact, repeated use of a bright screen can delay your body’s internal clock by 90 minutes — which is an issue when you have to stick to a schedule. Once this unhealthy pattern begins, it can be hard to get back on track. You lose sleep one night, end up sleep-deprived the next day, possibly nap in the evening, and then you’re wide awake at night.
A whopping 90% of Americans use technology within an hour before they go to bed. With this frequent use, tech throws off millions of sleep schedules — and not just with blue light.
Sound, too, can wake you up. Noise as low as 30 decibels can disrupt your sleep. Once you’re up, it can be hard to get back to your slumber.
However, you may be wondering if technology can help. For the better, how does technology affect our sleep? Despite its interruptive tendencies, technology has some benefits.
How Does Technology Benefit Our Sleep?
Your devices can be bright and irritating, but fortunately, technology has progressed enough that there are ways it can help you sleep.
One study shows a correlation between increased time using technology and decreased hours of sleep. Therefore, one of the best things you can do is limit your technology use. To do so, you can turn on your device’s Do Not Disturb option. Some devices let you set specific times where this option turns on automatically. When you use this feature, your phone silences your notifications, and you can rest easy.
Another feature you should use is Night Mode. If your device has any setting that lets you reduce blue light, use it. Since blue light wakes you up, a warm, soothing redder light will calm you down.
You could also look into blue light glasses, which block the irritating light from digital screens. Blue light-blocking glasses go a step beyond other methods. While Night Mode only filters out some blue light, certain glasses block almost 100% of the light from 400-500 nanometers — the wavelengths where blue light is the most irritating and harmful.
Since filters and apps aren’t a guarantee, blue-light-blocking glasses are a must. Plus, not all devices have a Night Mode. Blue light glasses, on the other hand, block the blue light in a room as well as from all devices.
Remember to dim the screen, too — the less brightness, the better, but don’t strain your eyes.
Dark modes are becoming increasingly common across platforms and apps. These let you switch brighter, whiter color schemes to darker, black ones. At night, or during the day, if you have sensitive eyes, the light mode can be bothersome. Dark mode, however, gives your eyes a break.
If you’d like to take extra precautions or are curious about your sleep behavior, there are dozens of apps that can help. Some ease you to sleep with white noise or relaxing melodies, others track your sleep patterns and give you personalized suggestions. As a result, you can use tech to your advantage to get a better night’s sleep.
Technology — For Better or Worse
Though technology has its pros and cons when it comes to sleep, it’s here to stay. Humans need and enjoy technology like never before. With these tips, you can use your devices wisely to achieve the best sleep while still enjoying your technology.