Reducing sleep time
While considering the effects the phone has on your quality of sleep is one thing, it is also important to consider the actual sleep time. Cellphones have become synonymous with daily life - we use our phone to call, text, check directions, chat on social media, play games, read books, listen to podcasts, browse the internet, and so much more. Social media especially rewards your brain by releasing dopamine, essentially making you feel good, and building a strong addiction to checking your phone.
By taking your phone to bed with you, the compulsive desire to check and respond remains intact and it can be difficult to put your phone away. This alone may lead to many hours spent in bed, browsing your phone, instead of catching valuable zzzs. Over a continuous period, this may lead to sleep deprivation.
You may also develop a symptom of hypervigilance. By keeping your phone on at night, your subconscious mind tells you that you are ready to answer a call, email, or text message. Of course, we would advise that you avoid falling asleep while checking your emails or playing a game.
But this also has an effect if you keep your phone near to your bed - if your phone is on, you'll undoubtedly be alerted by the sounds, light, or vibrations when you receive a notification. This keeps you in a state of hypervigilance, always ready to respond and never completely switching off.
Solutions to the problem
While it's good and well to be aware of the harmful effects of mobile phones, it can be difficult to implement changes. Here are a few suggestions that will help you put away your phone and get a better night's rest.
- Switch off your phone or remove it from your bedroom at least one hour before going to sleep. This gives your body and mind sufficient time to relax and switch off. It also eliminates the temptation of reaching for your phone to check your notifications.
- Use an alarm clock instead of your phone's alarm. Many phone alarms require your phone to be on (though flight mode suffices) and you're likely to place it near to your bed. By using an old-school alarm clock, this problem disappears.
- Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary. By creating a safe place that's purely reserved for rest and sleep, you'll undoubtedly create a better sleeping environment.
- If these options don't work - for example, if you're a student or renting a room - then do what you can: Don't look at your screen for an hour before bed, switch your phone over to flight mode, invest in an alarm clock, and place your phone at the opposite end of your room before you go to bed.
Getting a good night's sleep without the harmful effects of your mobile phone interfering is only a few changes away. If you want to optimise your sleeping environment even more, it may be time to invest in a high-quality mattress and sleep accessories. We'll help you choose the best mattress.