Smartphone & Insomnia : Is it time to ditch your smartphone?

It is okay to own a technology, what is not okay is to be owned by technology.

It’s that time of the night again, where you tuck into the bed after a tiresome day. However you cant sleep, so you pickup your phone to check your mails, reply to your Whatsapp text and somehow end-up scrolling through the endless Instagram reels. By the time you realise its already 2 AM, and you wake up the following day grumpy and tired. This is most of us lately. Whatever you’re doing, there’s a good chance you’re sabotaging your sleep by using your smartphone before going to bed.

Over the past decade as the technology has progressed, the amount of time we spend staring at our screen is significantly high. Reports of insomnia, characterised by delayed sleep onset and night waking, have increased in tandem. A study has reported about 75% of young adults report that using electronic devices before bedtime negatively affects their sleep. Yet, they continue to sleep with their phone beside their bed at night. Not only do devices disturb sleep, but 66% of young adults also report devices to be associated with psychological distress.

Light from smartphone try to put the eye muscles into a spasm, thus reducing the chances of early sleep initiation. The presence of any artificial light at night can potentially screw up your sleep cycle, but blue light has been proven to be the most disruptive. By staring at the blue and white light emitted from digital screens prevents your brain from releasing the hormone melatonin, which lets your body know when it’s time to hit the hay. So it becomes harder to fall and stay asleep.
Now, if you’re like me, and you have a history of insomnia, you definitely want to cut out blue light at night. Blue light can only fan the flames of bad sleep.

How to take a break from your smartphone?

  • Acknowledge when it’s time to take a break. It’s pretty much impossible to completely abandon phones, social media and screens but for the betterment of one’s mental health one surely can set aside a technology free time. Not hard, Isn’t it?
  • Identify times during the day when it is okay and not okay to use your phone. Setting these boundaries can help you make sure you are taking time to disconnect.
  • Use an auditing app. One solution to decreasing smartphone use in general is to track our personal usage and warn ourselves into curbing it after certain thresholds have been reached. This can only help to convince ourselves that we’ve used our phone enough.
  • While video watching may seem to be helping us to relax before bed, it’s actually engaging our brains and telling us to stay alert. But there’s a way around this corrosive routine: podcasts. Cultivate the habit of listening to the podcasts instead of watching a video.
  • Put your phone out of reach. If possible, leave it in another room while you sleep and keep doing so until it becomes habit. Pickup a new habit in its place, like reading a book instead.
  • Practice 4-7-8 Breathing. In order to get to sleep, your heart rate needs to slow down and breathing techniques are one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal. Inhale for a count of four, hold for seven counts, and then blow out for eight counts. Do this at least five to seven times, and your heart rate will slow way down.
  • If you simply cant refrain from using phone in bed prior to sleep, one solution for reducing screen effects includes activating night mode and another is wearing a blue light blocking glasses.

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