Why Facebook Is Ruining Your Sleep
In modern society, we never have a reason to be bored. With 24-hour media and ever-evolving ways to consume content, we live in a society that is now fueled by BuzzFeed headlines and a never-ending news cycle. But, with endless amounts of stimulation and entertainment only a click away, are we getting the sleep we need to really function at our best? And, what does this say about our ability to de-stress?
Well, according to Bank of America, we are “perpetually plugged in.” In a study of America’s smartphone obsession, BOA found that nearly 71 percent of people admit to falling asleep while holding their phones or they have it in bed or next to them each night. And in June 2019, Mary Meeker's 2019 Internet Trend Report reported that social media is killing our sleep quality.
Ask yourself, how often do you scan Facebook, Instagram or Twitter within one hour of bedtime?
With an infinite appetite for distraction, we are consumed every waking minute of our lives (literally). However, that hunger for diversion is negatively impacting our sleep and our ability to function mentally, physically and emotionally. Because we’re not fully-rested, we aren’t functioning as our best selves.
How Technology Impacts Sleep
According to Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert, not only is smartphone use at night associated with difficulty falling asleep, it is also associated with poor quality of sleep. In fact, a recent study that included over 125,000 children showed that simply having a portable electronic device in the bedroom is associated with poor sleep.
But what exactly is it about smartphone usage that’s making it so hard to fall asleep? After all, can’t you just put your phone in another room at night and the problem will be solved? Wrong.
Technology impacts sleep in three main ways:
- Light from your phone or device stimulates the brain. Even if you’re simply staring at a bright light bulb, it puts your brain into a more alert state, making you feel more awake despite it being your normal bedtime.
- Digital Content is Designed to be Stimulating. We live in an online world dominated by social media where we not only consume content but can create it with a touch of a button. When you are watching or creating content, your brain is secreting chemicals like norepinephrine and dopamine, which stimulate the “wake centers” of your brain, thus making it harder to fall asleep.
- The Brain Cannot Distinguish Artificial Light from Sunlight. When we are exposed to bright lights at night, the brain is tricked into thinking it is still daytime outside. This leads to a suppression of the brain’s natural sleep hormone known as melatonin. The result is difficulty falling asleep at the desired time.
So, when nearly 71 percent of us admitted to falling asleep with a phone in hand, it’s no wonder our sleep quality is slipping.
How to Sleep Better Naturally
For those who wish to discover their highest potential with one change, stop amusing your sleep to death. If you want to know how to sleep better, give these healthy sleep habit a try:
- Limit your screen time. In an ideal world, shutting off your devices at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime and keeping all devices out of your bedroom is the best solution to this issue. By limiting your screen time before going to bed, you can allow your brain to adjust to the night time and improve your sleep quality.
- Dim your screen as much as possible. The intensity of light is directly linked to the amount of melatonin suppression. This means that the brighter the light, the more likely it is to decrease your melatonin secretion. If you do have to look at your screen at night or before bed, enable night mode or dark mode. If your phone does not have this feature, turn your screen down to the lowest light setting to prevent your brain from being distracted by the light.
- Try using a blue light filter on your smartphone at night. Research shows that blue light decreases melatonin secretion much more than any other visible light color. Red light is least likely to suppress melatonin. There are several apps that can help decrease or eliminate blue light. Dimming the screen and avoiding blue light may help you fall asleep more easily, but remember that nothing is better than disconnecting completely.
Are you suppressing your sleep to death by gobbling up blue light from your smartphone or TV before bedtime? Eliminating screen time within one hour of bed can put you on the path to healthier sleep and a future in which you feel fully-rested!