According to sleep researchers, computers, smartphones and other handheld devices could be wrecking our natural circadian rhythms, and giving us insomnia, a problem that is already upsetting the lives of many older folks.
How do tablets and phones mess with our sleep cycles? It is really very simple. Different types of light emit different wavelengths of color, stimulating specialized cells in our eyes. Some kinds of light, for instance red light, tell our bodies its time to get ready for sleep, while other wavelengths, such as blue, send the message that it is morning and its time to wake up. Hand-held devices and computers happen to have a high percentage of blue light. In other words, the light from these devices mimics morning light, therefore telling our bodies its morning and time to wake up.
The actual pathway to adjusting circadian rhythms and sleep/wake cycles is complicated, but it is clear that the abundance of blue light emitted from our smartphones can really mess with our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep researchers recommend that anyone having trouble with insomnia should stop looking at their cellphones, tablets and/or computers long before bed time.
There are other natural ways to combat insomnia in addition to turning off screens:
- Diet can affect sleep. Be sure to refrain from high-carb and sugary foods late in the day. It is also helpful to bring some healthy fats into your diet each day. Avocado is a good choice, and so is organic yogurt.
- Reducing stress can also aid in getting to sleep. Watching television can be a source of stress, in addition to having that blue light factor. After you turn off your screens, then try reading, journaling, or anything else that calms your mind and body, so you can relax and get to sleep.
- Exercise is a great way to help you sleep.
So, turn of your screens and get to your dreams!