Are you guilty of scrolling through your social media feed or binge-watching Netflix shows right before bed? If so, you're not alone. Millions of people worldwide engage in this seemingly harmless habit, but research shows it could be wreaking havoc on your sleep and mental health.
A groundbreaking study by Chang et al. (2014) found that using a blue-light emitting device (such as a smartphone, laptop, or TV) before bed significantly impacts the quality of sleep. Exposure to blue light suppresses melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep, and consequently leads to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. This disruption of the natural sleep cycle can leave you feeling groggy and fatigued the next day.
But that's not all. Poor sleep doesn't just leave you feeling tired—it also impacts your mental health. A study by Grønli et al. (2016) found a direct link between late-night screen time and symptoms of depression and anxiety. The researchers discovered that individuals who used screens before bed were more likely to experience negative emotions, rumination, and stress. This cumulative effect of reduced sleep quality and increased mental health symptoms can significantly impact overall well-being.
So, the next time you reach for your phone or turn on your TV late at night, consider the potential consequences on your sleep and mental health. Instead, try implementing a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation, like reading a book or practicing mindfulness exercises. Your mind and body will thank you!
Chang, A. M., Aeschbach, D., Duffy, J. F., & Czeisler, C. A. (2014). Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(4), 1232-1237.
Grønli, J., Byrkjedal, I. K., Bjorvatn, B., Nødtvedt, Ø., Hamre, B., & Pallesen, S. (2016). Reading from an iPad or from a book in bed: The impact on human sleep. A randomized controlled crossover trial. Sleep Medicine, 21, 86-92.