16 Mar Five amazing ways a digital detox helps you sleep better
Sleeping well is crucial for maintaining good health and looking our best. It’s not rocket science that even a single bad night’s sleep affects our concentration, alertness and mood. What’s perhaps more surprising is that sustained sleep deprivation has been linked to serious health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. So, it’s worrying to know that 40% of Britons are now getting less than the NHS recommended six to nine hours of shut-eye.
We don’t think it’s a coincidence that our sleep quality has reduced as our dependency on technology has increased! The UK Sleep Council has coined the phrase ‘Junk Sleep‘ to explain the impact digital devices have on our sleep. UK Sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski summarises: “What we are seeing is the emergence of Junk Sleep – that is sleep that is of neither the length nor quality that it should be in order to feed the brain with the rest it needs to perform properly.” It’s becoming increasingly apparent that we need to be taking our relationship with our devices much more seriously. We share five ways a digital detox can directly improve your sleep!
1. You fall asleep more easily
A study has shown that the more you use your smartphone, the more likely you are to suffer from anxiety. Similarly, research suggests that heavy social media use can increase the likelihood of suffering from depression. Taking the time to disconnect from your devices can help you feel less anxious, and therefore more at ease, when you get your head down for the night.
2. ‘Blue light’ isn’t keeping you awake
Our screens emit a specific type of blue light. This light keeps us awake and boosts reaction times by suppressing the release of the ‘sleepy’ hormone, melatonin. Natural blue light (from the sun) is used by your body to determine your sleep and wake cycles, or circadian rhythm. The artificial blue light emitted from our devices has the propensity to keep us awake even when natural blue light levels have dropped and our body would normally be preparing for sleep. Not using devices before bed will allow for the proper functioning of your body’s natural circadian rhythm, meaning you’re sleepy when you’re supposed to be!
3. You’re physically more comfortable in bed
Suffer from headaches or ‘sore’ eyes after staring at your screen all day? You’re not alone. According to a US survey, 73% of young adults under the age of 30 suffer from symptoms of digital eye strain from screen overuse. This can include dry, irritated eyes, neck and back pain, headaches and blurred vision. Reducing the amount of time you spend hunched over your computer or mobile screen will ease these symptoms, leaving you more comfortable when you jump into bed each evening.
4. Your devices aren’t waking you up
This is one of the most basic ways that a digital detox will help you get a full night’s, uninterrupted kip. If your phone or any devices which can receive notifications, messages and alerts are removed from your bedroom, the only thing able to wake you from your beauty sleep will be your alarm clock!
5. Your brain can switch off
A digital detox highlights the importance of a wind-down routine before bed. Replying to emails or playing games late at night keeps your brain engaged, making it more difficult to switch off and relax. Research has also shown that our ‘always-on’ culture robs our brains of important downtime. This is reducing our capacity for deep-thinking and maintained focus!
Feeling inspired? A great way to start implementing a digital detox is by following our 5:2 digital diet. Why not give it a go and see your sleep quality soar!