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 bedtime. Even turning down the brightness or using the “nighttime mode” setting will improve your night’s rest.
Several events happen during 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. It only lasts for a few minutes, during which your heartbeat, breathing, and brain waves slow down from wakeful patterns.
Stage 2: Stage 2 is the period before you enter deep sleep. Your 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 their lowest while you sleep. Stage 3 helps boost your body’s immunity and growth hormone.
REM sleep: This is the stage when most of your dreaming occurs. During this period, your brain waves almost resemble wakefulness activity. Your eyes move side to side, and your muscles are paralyzed to keep you from moving while you dream. The REM cycle helps consolidate your memories.
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