According to the CDC, approximately 50-70 million Americans struggle with sleep or wakefulness disorders. Sleepless nights can be caused by numerous factors, such as anxiety, caffeine consumption, poor diet, and age. However, the use of mobile devices before bed can also contribute to sleeplessness.
The Backlit Blues
Backlit screens on certain smartphones and tablets emit blue-light wavelengths that can decrease the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps people fall asleep. For those that like to read before bed, books or magazines are a more sleep-friendly option.
Fear of Missing Out
With the rise of the 24-hour news cycle and social media, many people have trouble putting devices away because they fear missing out on the latest news, want to respond to incoming emails, or are joining in on a group chat. However, these activities engage the brain and keep it active, rather than letting it prepare for sleep. Powering down removes the temptation to stay connected.
Push notifications activate the device’s screen and ping, chirp, or otherwise alert the owner of incoming emails, texts, and social media posts. Both the light from the screen and the sounds can disrupt slumber. Placing all devices in airplane mode before bed will prevent push notifications from interrupting sleep cycles.
While the science is not conclusive, some experts suggest that the radiation emitted from the cellular signals of mobile devices may cause adverse health effects. Since the long-term effects of cell use are unknown, limiting exposure by powering down at night is a smart idea.
Chronic insomnia can impede work performance and mood during the day. However, avoiding mobile technology before bed can increase the chance of a good night’s sleep.