Adults and even children today like to conclude their day by taking a long stroll through their Instagram feed, kicking off with their favorite TV show or having a go at their much loved video game. We are surrounded by more than one screen these days, and while these screens have their benefits, they can prevent us from falling asleep and also affect our quality of sleep.
One of the simplest yet important reasons that technology impacts our sleep is through cognitive stimulation. As your brain is stimulated, the electrical activity revs up and neurons start racing, the exact opposite of what should happen prior to you falling sleep. Another impact screen time has on the body is the physical response to a TV show, a violent cartoon,video games or even an email that can make the body tense, which in turn releases cortisol, a stress hormone. This results in a situation that hardly promotes a goodnight’s sleep.
Another reason why you should cut out screen time from your routine is due to the harmful “glow” emitted from electronic devices. The small quantities of light emitting from these devices can travel through the retina and into the part of the brain (known as hypothalamus) that is responsible for controlling different sleep-related activities, and also delay the discharge of sleep inducing hormone known as melatonin. When we wind down for sleep in a distorted manner, which only means we are getting less sleep.
For these and other critical reasons, the World Health Organization, and other experts from around the world recommend the following guidelines about screen time:
-For children under 2, no screen time
-For children and teens from 2 to 18, two hours of screen time each day
Because most adults spend more than 10 hours in front of the screen (including office work), it is recommended you monitor your time and try to mitigate the risk as much as possible.
If this seems surprising and unattainable to you, here are some helpful steps you can take to somewhat achieve your goal.
-Replace screen time with other better activities. This can include bringing home a pet, engaging in physical exercises or investing in a couple books that will keep you engrossed and less likely to crave spending time around the screens.
-Move screens out of the bedroom. This will help you avoid any kind of backlit screen in the hour just before bedtime.