Do You Need a Bedtime Digital Detox?

Posted on 26 Sep 2016 by Anna Scott
We’ve come to accept that digital devices are part of our everyday lives, but are they taking over our night time activities too? According the results of a new survey, one in six UK adults are spending 2 hours of what should be their sleep time catching up on Facebook and Twitter, but that’s not all - 43% of those studied said they were spending time online before going to sleep, whether it’s using social media, watching programmes or films on Netflix, or using Skype.

But seeing as we rely on technology so much is this really such a bad thing? And if we do want to cut down that screen time, how can we make a start on a bedtime digital detox?


Losing Sleep Over Tech Troubles?

Using phone in bedYou might think that checking your phone when you should be sleeping is no worse than picking up a book, but all that screen time could be having an adverse effect on your sleep. The blue light emitted from these types of screens is designed to mimic daylight and when we expose ourselves to it before we try and go to sleep, it can supress the production of melatonin in our brains, the chemical we produce that helps us fall asleep. So if you find yourself restless after you’ve put down your phone and turned out the lights, and then find yourself reaching for said phone again because you can’t get to sleep, you might want to try breaking the cycle. So what can help?


Banning the Phone from the Bedroom

Alarm ClockNow, your first reaction to this recommendation might be, ‘well, that won’t work because I need the alarm clock on my phone to wake me up in the morning’. And that’s true, many of us use the clock function on our phones for this purpose, probably more than those who use an actual alarm clock these days. And that in itself tells us that there’s a very easy way to get around this – go back to basics and buy an actual alarm clock. Leave your phone to charge in another room entirely before you go to bed and you can drift off to sleep, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be woken up in the morning and you won’t be tempted to check your Facebook feed one last time before lights out. And if you want to save on a state-of-the-art radio alarm, or an old-fashioned mechanical one that will wake the whole neighbourhood, you can use Debenhams promo codes to choose from a large range.


Read a Book

Reading in bedBut what if you need to take your mind off that stressful day you’ve had before you finally drift off to sleep? Reading a book is another old-fashioned suggestion, yes, but the best and most rewarding one. No problems will arise if you pick up a hardback or paperback (apart from maybe choosing a book you don’t actually like), but if you prefer reading eBooks, that screen problem might rear its troublesome head again. Some eReaders use a different sort of screen that doesn’t emit the same sort of light as your phone so this might not be an issue (such as the Kindles with their E-Ink screens – available with Amazon promotional codes), but if you read eBooks on an iPad or similar, you might want to pay a visit to your local library or use The Book People discount vouchers to save on a few titles.


Family Commitment

Double bedYou might not be able to persuade your teenagers to relinquish their screens before bed, but if you’re going to make the effort, then you can at least expect your other half to help you out by doing the same – what’s the point of cutting down your screen time if your melatonin production is still going to be hindered by someone else tinkering on their phone next to you? But if you do want to cut down you screen time as a family, perhaps consider introducing a family film night, one that includes everyone piling their devices in the middle of the table so they can’t be distracted. And you can even let them choose what to watch if you think this all sounds a bit draconian.


It’s fair to argue that a bedtime digital detox might be a lot easier to manage than a day time one, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel the effects if you ban that phone from the bedroom. Try for a couple of nights and see if the quality of your sleep doesn’t improve dramatically…

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