The One Thing You Should Do to Sleep Better

Unplug From Your Electronic Devices


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Unplug From Your Electronic Devices


About 90% of people use their phones at bedtime — despite the fact that smartphones and other electronics such as tablets and laptops are destroying our sleep. It's not just due to the anxiety caused by constantly checking the news or monitoring social media into the wee hours. The blue light emitted from the screen tricks the brain into thinking you should remain awake. It blocks melatonin production, a hormone essential to sleep.

"Even if you're someone who can fall asleep easily after staring at your phone, experts suggest that the light can make it more difficult for you to reach the deeper stages of the sleep cycle," said Chris Brantner, a certified sleep science coach.

Additionally, the average person is getting only a little over six hours of sleep and, for the sake of long-term health, could probably use more. Banishing electronics from the bedroom can bring pleasantly surprising rewards. Here are a dozen potential benefits.

Related: How to Keep the Time Change From Disrupting Your Sleep

More Sleep and Better Sleep

More Sleep and Better Sleep

First, the obvious: Sleep experts will tell you that a bedroom free of electronics results in you getting more sleep and higher quality sleep. Your sleep will no longer be interrupted by the buzzing, beeping, and other noises associated with your email, Twitter, and all the other random notifications that come from a smartphone, said Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert for New Jersey-based Maple Holistics. As a result, you will actually wake up feeling refreshed.

Related: 16 Sleep Myths That Could Explain Why You're So Tired

More Book Time

More Book Time

Sitting down and reading an actual book, the old-fashioned kind, made from paper, is a dying (or dead) habit for many. It's so easy to simply read everything online via a phone, tablet, or e-reader. It's also easy to spend the time you might read a book instead of mindlessly scanning Instagram, Facebook, and your Twitter feed. Backe said he always has a book on his bedside table now that he has banned electronics. "Sitting in bed with a book. It is so natural, yet I hadn't done it in probably years," he said. "It's learning-oriented, enriching, mind-expanding, rather than purely entertaining."

Related: This Is Why Getting a Good Night's Sleep Is Harder as You Get Older

Your Bedroom Becomes an Oasis

Your Bedroom Becomes an Oasis

When we remove electronics from our bedrooms, we're not just removing the physical objects themselves; we're also removing our link to the outside world, said Jordan Harling, digital strategist for furnishings company Roman Blinds Direct. As part of sleep research conducted by the company, Harling banned electronics from his bedroom. "We're all used to being bombarded with emails, Snapchat messages ... we're always primed for that next interaction. Having an electronics-free area provides you with an oasis of calm in a hectic world."

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Waking Up Will Be Easier

It'll Get You Out of Bed

If you use your phone as an alarm clock (and who doesn't these days?) Harling says putting them outside the bedroom assists with dragging yourself out of bed each morning. Why? Because you'll have to walk out of your bedroom to silence the phone's alarm when it goes off in the morning. That is, assuming you put the phone somewhere you can still hear the alarm. And there's no point in hitting the snooze button when you're already out of bed, right?

Improved Weight Loss

Improved Weight Loss

Banning electronics from the bedroom is a big part of sleep hygiene, said Dave Conley, a San Francisco-based health and wellness coach who works with people who need to lose between one-third and half of their body weight. "I like to say that the bedroom is only for two things, and your phone (or computer) and TV aren't either of them," Conley said. Without good sleep, you can't lose weight and keep it off, added Conley, who requires all his clients to clean up their sleep practices as a foundation for self-care and weight loss.

Related: Don't Ever Fall for These Weight Loss Gimmicks

woman opening curtains in the morning waking up

Tuning in to Your Internal Clock

After banishing electronics from her bedroom, Jen Greyson of tech startup Neureal said she found that she sleeps deeper and requires fewer hours of sleep, ultimately waking naturally. "I wake when my body is rested, which some mornings is 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. on others," Greyson said. "I've learned to trust my internal clock and rise when I wake." And on those mornings when her body wakes extra early, she uses the time for self-care or work, depending on the day's tasks.

Related: This Is Everything That's Robbing You of Sleep

More Time to Do Things You Enjoy and That Are Good for You

More Time for Things That Keep You Happy and Healthy

When not mindlessly watching TV or scrolling through social media, you can do many other things, Greyson said. She uses the time for yoga, meditation, and writing the old-fashioned way: with a pen and paper. "Now, instead of keeping my phone on my bedside table, I have a notebook and pen. Writing ideas down by hand has been great for my creativity," she said.

Related: 22 Ways to Relax From the Comfort of Your Own Home

man on video call at home

Improved Focus

Smartphones and all of their notifications change the way we think, said entrepreneur Jeff Butler, who gave a TED talk on the topic. Text messages, email, and apps all provide loads of notifications. "You adapt to the rapid stimulus of notifications from your phone, making every day tasks such as reading, writing, or simply talking to a friend difficult." In addition to banning electronics from your bedroom and during family time, try reducing the number of notifications you receive.

Related: 12 Healthy Habits You Can Carry Into Your 80s and 90s

Regain Work Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

When we bring our electronics into the bedroom, we're tempted to respond to work emails and notifications at all hours of the night, slowly but increasingly eroding personal time. "You make yourself just that much more available here. That much more available there. And this perpetuates ... to a point to you're literally on your phone 24/7 because you're trying to keep up with external obligations," Butler said. "Managers literally have their employees on a leash because of the convenience factor of technology." Leave the technology outside the bedroom and leave the work behind, too.

Related: Expert Tips for a Healthy Work-Life Balance While Working From Home

Overcoming Technology-Addicted Behavior

Overcoming Technology-Addicted Behavior

All of this boils down to the fact that we've largely become a technology-addicted society. And for good reason: Technology has countless benefits. Having a personal computer at your fingertips is handy and entertaining. But for the sake of your health, and your ability to sleep and to think more clearly, it's best to clarify who is in control. The answer is you, not the phone. Practice distancing yourself from the technology, letting go, and giving yourself and your mind a break from all of the distractions. 

Less Radiation

Less Radiation

While early reports tying smartphones to brain tumors proved unfounded, there is some agreement among scientists that these devices emit micro levels of radiation. Why not give your body a break for seven or eight hours a day from the radiation, however small the levels may be? 

Your Bedroom Becomes a Place You Look Forward to Visiting

Looking Forward to Getting in Bed

When you begin to integrate all of the benefits that come with banning electronics from the bedroom — more reading, better sleep, quality time with your partner, fewer distractions from the outside world, and more — suddenly, the bedroom transforms into a place you actually look forward to spending time.

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