Setting up a no phone ban might seem crazy, but it can do a lot to help you fall asleep at night!
It may sound a little extreme, but setting up a “no electronics before bed” rule can be one of the best ways that you can improve your family’s sleep schedule. The light that is emitted from most electronics (especially phones!) can have a serious effect on your brain. Studies have shown that the so-called “blue light” can delay the release of melatonin, increase alertness, and disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm. Without melatonin or a reliable circadian rhythm, your body will struggle to fall asleep when it should, causing you to spend way more time trying to fall asleep than you should. Even if you’re reliably going to bed at a good time, you can end up sleep-deprived and poorly rested.
The reason that blue light is such a problem is because of how our brains are wired to react to light. When your eyes are taking in a substantial amount of light, your brain will assume it’s daytime and not a time for sleeping. Blue light is especially harmful due to its short wavelength, which was found to harm your melatonin levels the most. Studies have found that light from your phones and computers, fluorescent bulbs, and LED lights have the highest levels of blue light. So when you get into bed and immediately scroll through social media or news app, it will take a lot longer for you to fall asleep, since your brain will be tricked into thinking it’s daytime. But the damage doesn’t just stop there, having less time to sleep can decrease the quality of your sleep too.
Even while it might have seemed crazy at first, this is why a “no electronics” ban can have such a dramatic effect on your sleep. Cutting down and removing the number of screens you’re looking at before bed can make a huge difference in your ability to feel tired and immediately fall asleep when it’s time for bed. If it’s too much to remove screens from your nightly routine altogether, consider dimming the brightness or turning on the “night time” mode on your phone. It’s not quite as good as skipping the screen, but even doing just a little can still help your brain get the message.