smartphones affecting how we sleep

6 in 10 of us are struggling to sleep because of smartphones, including many young children and teenagers, and that’s bad news for our health. Read more about smartphones affecting the way we sleep…

A recent study by the University of Hertfordshire, found that over 50% of Brits are struggling to get any shut eye and put the reason down to an increase in the use of smartphones, tablets and computers before bedtime.

Smartphones might have helped to improve every day life, but its becoming more and more apparent that frequent use is causing us to get less than 7 hours sleep a night, which is bad news for our overall health.

You might think that a quick check of your emails, a short video on YouTube, sending a text or reading a humorous blog whilst in bed can’t do any harm, but in actual fact you’re sending some confusing messages to your brain, with startling consequences!

Smartphones, tablets and laptops all emit something called blue light, similar to what is produced by daylight. Blue light can be quite good because it stimulates us during the day and keeps us active as we go about our daily lives. That’s why often you find yourself more active during summer days, then on dark winter afternoons.

But blue light can actually be pretty disruptive just before bedtime. It disrupts the production of melatonin, a chemical that is produced by the brain to help you get to sleep. In a nice, quiet and dark bedroom the brain has no problem creating melatonin, but by exposing your brain to blue light, you’re tricking your brain into thinking that it’s the middle of the day, thus making it harder to drop off when you want to.

The appropriately named Professor Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire told the Telegraph newspaper that the results of his study were quite worrying. He said, there is “a huge rise in sleep deprivation and the results are extremely worrying because getting less than seven hours sleep a night is below the recommended guidelines, and is associated with a range of problems, including an increased risk of weight gain, heart attacks, diabetes and cancer.”

Professor Wiseman’s study found that 78% of adults surveyed used their smartphone, tablet or a laptop before going to sleep. For young people, this actually increased to 91%.

So maybe it’s time to turn off the smartphone before bed, read a book instead of a tablet and leave that report for work till the morning. Here are 5 things you can do to improve your sleep instead of playing with a smartphone –

Make Lists

If you find that you often toss and turn at night worrying about what the next day is going to bring, then make a list in your head of what you have to do in the morning. This will help you to face your problems head on, and not spend too much time worrying whilst you could be asleep.

Tire Out Your Brain

Counting sheep might not be a bad idea after all! Giving your brain something to do like trying to think of a band or singer for each letter of the alphabet, or reciting a complicated nursery rhyme can tire your brain out and give you a chance to sleep when you’re struggling to drown out your thoughts.

Eat A Banana

For a delicious treat before bed, try eating a banana. Bananas are high in magnesium and potassium, which are both muscle relaxants. By snacking on the tasty yellow fruit, you’re treating yourself with some healthy sleep inducing chemicals.

Do A Rubik Cube

If you are still awake after 20 minutes then it might be a good idea to do something non-stimulating for a bit. Avoid watching television, reading a book or listening to music. Instead, why not add a few pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, play with a Rubik cube or draw patterns.

Avoid Alcohol

Often people will have a swift nightcap to help them sleep, but this is not a good idea. Alcohol only results in disrupted sleep, and whilst we’re at it it’s best to avoid coffee and tea as well due to their high caffeine content. And you can’t beat a glass of warm milk. Milk contains tryptophan, which makes it easier to sleep.

Of course, the best way to get a good night’s sleep is to start with the bed itself. Here at Bedstore, we have a great range of beds and mattresses that will guarantee a good night’s sleep. And with some of the best prices on the internet, at least you won’t be having nightmares about the cost!