New Research from the Lighting
Research Centre warns against using tablets and mobile phones with
a backlit display for more than an hour before bed.
Dr Nerina, our resident sleep
expert, agrees saying that looking at your smartphone before bed
has negative effects on the quality of your sleep. Dr Nerina
advises shutting down lap tops, mobiles and avoiding emails and
social media at least 90 minutes before bed.
Using an electronic device,
including tablets and computers, for just two hours before bed can
cause sleep problems as it suppresses the body's sleep chemicals
called Melatonin which controls your body clock.
Dr Nerina has seen many patients
suffering with technology related sleep issues. She says: "Many of
my patients with sleep problems have an unhealthy relationship with
their gadgets, they can't let go of them, they can't switch them
off and they actually sleep with them beside their bed or actually
under their pillow!"
Electronics have become a big part a
part of life in the 21st century. There are definitely pros and
cons to our increasing connectivity; a concerning con being that we
are able to stay engaged with the world from the privacy of our own
homes late into the evening. Living in our 24/7 society, there is a
loss of the evening reduction in light that has traditionally cued
our brains to "wind down" for sleep.
Dr Nerina advises: "Ask yourself do I really need to
know who is emailing me or what are the share prices at 3am? Some
of my clients reply yes, they find it hard to see that they have a
choice or the choices they're making are disrupting their
Its not just adults that are guilty
of using their electronics at night, there is an increasing use of
electronics in children's bedrooms which leads to light exposure
that negatively impacts sleep time, sleep quality and daytime
alertness. Children using electronic media as a sleep aid to relax
at night have been shown to have later weekday bedtimes.
Technology may be a wonderful thing but for the best
chance of a good night's sleep you should have a 'winding down'
routine. Dr Nerina says: "The best way to create this routine is to
ask`what do I need to do in order to make me feel calm and relaxed
Her suggestions for winding down include having a
milky non caffeine drink, laying out clothes for the next day,
writing a to do list for the following day and if you do watch TV
make sure it is light, enjoyable entertainment and switch it off
half an hour before sleeping.
For more information on how to build
an effective wind down routine before bed have a look at Dr
Nerina's Sleep Toolkit /sleep-matters/dr-nerinas-sleep-toolkit/
Tired But Wired - Dr