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Stow Your Phone Before Bed

A man looking at his phone while in bed
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock

Scrolling yourself to sleep may keep you awake at night. A growing body of research hints that blue light from smartphones, computers and other devices keeps the sandman at bay.

Adults who use electronics in bed tend to have poorer sleep quality, sleep less overall and feel more fatigue during the day, according to an analysis of 844 people ages 18 to 94 that was reported in 2015 in Social Science & Medicine. Among 1,225 adults in a different study, those who used their devices for more than an hour in bed had the worst quality sleep, according to a 2020 report in Sleep and Biological Rhythms.

The screens’ LED glow may prevent your brain from releasing the hormone melatonin, which tells your body when it’s bedtime and controls sleep and wake cycles, research suggests. And scrolling online or texting may stimulate your thoughts rather than settle them.

Chronic sleep troubles have been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and depression. And being tired makes people three times more likely to be in a car accident, according to the National Safety Council. About 1 in 5 fatal accidents involve a drowsy driver.

Your safest bet: Leave electronics outside of your bedroom. Try switching to an old-fashioned alarm clock instead of your phone alarm. If devices must be nearby, dim the screens and turn on airplane mode.

To learn more about your sleep and LED light, read this article in Staying Sharp

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

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