If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you’re not alone. Sleep problems are more common than you might think. Over 70 million Americans suffer from disorders of sleep and wakefulness, and about 60% of them have a chronic sleep disorder.
There are plenty of tips out there for creating a sleep-friendly bedroom, like making sure it’s cool and dark, and using a fan or a white sound machine to help drown out outside noise. But if you’ve tried just about everything and you’re still waking up sluggish and tired after a restless night’s sleep, there may be one tip you have yet to try that might just do the trick.
Holistic psychiatrist Ellen Vora, M.D., practices at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. In her course titled “The Doctor’s Guide to Falling Asleep Naturally + Getting the Best Rest of Your Life,” she shares her best tips for getting a better night’s sleep. Her most important tip might surprise you: Get your phone out of the bedroom!
According to Vora, keeping your phone out of your bedroom is one of the top ways to ensure a more restful sleep. She suggests saying goodnight to your phone at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and making your bedroom a no-phone zone.
Before you have a chance to panic, let’s discuss all of the “what if’s.” If you’re one of the many people who use a cell phone as an alarm clock, going out and buying an actual analog alarm clock will only set you back about $10.00. Late-night e-mails and text messages can wait until morning, and so can social media. If you’re worried about missing an emergency call, set your phone up outside the bedroom, but within hearing distance.
If you’re not convinced yet to make the switch, here are three amazing reasons why you should:
1. Your Phone’s Light Tricks Your Brain
Light regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle, referred to as the circadian rhythm. The blue light from cell phone screens confuses the brain into thinking its daytime, even if you’re staring at your phone at two in the morning. The brain responds to the light by secreting hormones that make you feel more awake, so staring at your phone late at night is one of the worst things you can do for your sleep cycle. Over a long period of time, this could cause some serious health issues.
2. Your Phone is a Stressor For Your Body
You might love reading the news on your phone, scrolling through social media or texting friends, but your cell phone is also a source of stress, especially if you get work e-mails or calls on your phone. All of the vibrations and sounds constantly notifying you of something can be perceived by the body as stressors. Receiving them at night disrupts your sleep, which hinders you from falling into a deep and restorative sleep.
3. Your Phone Triggers Your Brain’s Reward System
The many activities you do on your phone, from games to e-mailing, texting, calling, and scrolling through web pages, are designed to be addictive to the brain. These activities signal the reward system in the brain, making you want to keep going. Checking social media “one last time” before bed can turn into an hour-long scroll, setting you up for a restless night’s sleep. Keeping the phone out of the bedroom is the best way to avoid wasting time scrolling, and it’s one of the most important things you can do for a better night’s sleep!