Your Smartphone is Causing Your Insomnia

Phones are Linked to Sleep Problems

Here’s the situation: you’re tired but you can’t fall asleep.  So, while you’re lying there in bed, you grab your phone and scroll through your social media accounts.  Eventually that gets boring, and you’re still not tired.  So you read the news.  Then you hop over to your favorite meme website.  Hours later you’re still at it.

Sound familiar?  If it does, it’s not the insomnia that’s the problem… it’s your phone.

Smartphone Insomnia can't fall asleep

There are a few reasons that your phone is affecting how well you sleep, and how you get to sleep.  Here’s what you should pay attention to if you’re struggling to sleep night after night, and how you can remedy the situation.

Circadian Rhythm

Your body naturally has an awake and asleep cycle.  It’s why you slip into a deep sleep in the wee hours of the morning, and when you get tired in the afternoon (although eating the wrong foods do that to you as well).  The Circadian Rhythm is what causes dips in energy and spikes throughout the day when most other things are equal.

When you use a device, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even a TV, you can end up throwing that rhythm out of whack.  The light emitted tells your brain that even though you feel tired, it’s still detecting daylight, so rather than let your body completely relax, it amps things back up.

Melatonin Production

Melatonin is the chemical hormone that our bodies naturally produce in order to fall asleep.  While we get a small amount through the foods we eat, the majority of the melatonin production is caused by our brains and coincides with that circadian rhythm.

But using our devices throws off that rhythm.  Then, as we lay on our backs holding our phones precariously a few inches away from our faces, our brains think it’s not time for bed, and they don’t produce the melatonin that we need in order to fall asleep.

The Blue Screen of Death

In the tech world the Blue Screen of Death is a term for when Windows has a critical error.  It’s annoying and can happen with a multitude of problems.  But we’re talking about a different blue screen.  Actually, we’re talking about blue light.

The light emitted from your devices is called blue light.  It’s the same wavelengths as the light produced by the sun.  So, when you’re having trouble sleeping, using your phone not only stimulates you with interaction, it also is a signal to your brain to wake up because it’s a new day!  Keep in mind that a TV doesn’t have quite the same affect because it’s generally across the room and not right in your face.

 

How to Avoid Blue Light and Fall Asleep Faster

The best situation is to simply turn off the devices before going to bed.  About an hour before you hit the hay, put your phone and other devices to bed, and then read a book (yes, one with paper!) to help calm your brain.  Or do a puzzle, or organize your penny collection, it really doesn’t matter as long as it’s calming and doesn’t include blue light producing devices.

The other method to ensure a good night’s sleep, even when you need to have those devices going (say you’re finishing up a huge term paper, or angrily tweeting to various brands about their lack of customer service skills), is to invest in blue light blocking glasses.  Yes, humans find a way to circumvent nature’s methods of keeping us awake so we can have more hours of screen time.  Check out one story of how well they worked.

Finally, if you have an iPhone, you can turn on the Night Shift mode.  This reduces the blue wavelengths and shifts everything more toward the warmer end of the spectrum.  It can take some serious getting used to because everything has a yellowish tint to it.

 

iDoctor Repairs Devices

From iPhones to tablets, from laptops to drones, if your technology has broken, we will repair it to its full functionality.  We have two locations in Billings to serve you best.