Having trouble sleeping? Your screen time may be the culprit.
The blue light emitted from electronic screens suppresses your body’s melatonin level. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. This blue light disrupts your circadian rhythms, otherwise known as your internal biological clock, making it difficult to fall asleep naturally. Professionals recommend turning off blue light devices an hour before bed. Even turning down the brightness or displaying the light in the “night time mode” setting will improve your night’s rest.
Several events happen in a normal night’s rest. There are four stages of sleep that can be split into two groups: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM.
The first three stages of the sleep cycle are non-REM sleep.
Stage 1: This stage is the transitional period from being awake to falling asleep. Only lasting for a few minutes, in this stage, your heartbeat, breathing, and brain waves have slowed down from wakeful patterns.
Stage 2: Stage 2 is the period before you enter deep sleep. Heartbeat and breathing continue to slow down and body temperature also decreases. As your sleep cycle repeats throughout the night, you will spend the most time in stage 2 sleep.
Stage 3: You need this stage to feel well-rested. During this time, your heart rate and breathing are at the lowest while you sleep. Stage 3 helps your body’s immunity and growth hormone.
REM sleep: This is the stage most of your dreaming occurs. During this period, your brain waves almost resemble wakefulness activity. Your eyes are moving side to side and your muscles are paralyzed to keep you from moving while you dream. REM cycle helps to consolidate your memories and increase cognitive function.
By monitoring and regulating your amount of screen time, you can enjoy a better night’s rest. Try Caravan’s Sleep Better practice for a meditative guide to creating a healthier sleep routine.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2019, August). Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/patient-caregiver-education/Understanding-sleep
Sutter Health Organization. Screens and Your Sleep: The Impact of Nighttime Use. https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/sleep/screens-and-your-sleep-the-impact-of-nighttime-use