With the increasing proliferation of electronic gadgets, more and more people are using these devices at all times of day or night. Unfortunately, excessive use of these devices may be interfering with your sleep. If you are finding it difficult to fall asleep at night, or if you wake up frequently at night, it may be time to put down your gadgets in the evening.
Your brain regulates your body’s sleep cycles according to a number of different factors, but one of these is the amount of light in the surrounding environment. In the natural environment, there is little light after dark, so your body knows that it is time to sleep. Receptors in your eyes are triggered by light, which halts the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle.
When these receptors are not stimulated for a while, this tells your brain that it is time to sleep. Melatonin production increases, making you feel sleepier. This hormone also helps to regulate your internal clock so that you get enough of the right kind of sleep.
However, when you are staring at a computer screen or using your tablet in the evening, this means that these receptors are continuing to be stimulated. Your brain will not know when it is time to start producing melatonin again. Even if it is late at night, you will not feel tired and can find it difficult to fall asleep.
Another problem that can exacerbate the situation is the type of light emitted by most electronic gadgets. These devices tend to emit a lot of blue light. Since blue light is most common during the day, your eyes are particularly sensitive to it. The more blue light that you see, the harder it will be for you to fall asleep.
In addition, using electronic gadgets may simply stimulate your brain and make it hard to unwind and relax. If you find that your thoughts are going a mile a minute, it can be hard to shut down this train of thought. Often, people find themselves lying in bed, unable to halt their thoughts. It can take them hours to fall asleep, and the sleep that they get may not be very restful.
In the evening, you should shut down and put away your electronic devices at least an hour before you plan to go to bed. This way, you can let your brain and body relax. The stimulating effect of these screens can wear off before you actually lie down and try to fall asleep. Instead of staring at a screen, dim the lights and put on some soothing music. A relaxing cup of hot tea may also make it easier to fall asleep.
While electronic gadgets can be both useful and fun, they also have their drawbacks. Using them too often can make it hard to sleep. For these reasons, be sure to turn them off well before you actually head to the bedroom.