Is Screen-time Sabotaging your Sleep?
Obtaining good, quality sleep is an essential component of overall health and well-being. Despite this, many individuals do not prioritize sleep as they should.
Written by: Dr. Alicia MacDougall, Naturopathic Doctor at Integra Health
Obtaining good, quality sleep is an essential component of overall health and well-being. Even mild sleep deprivation can lead to decreased performance, worsened mental health, and an increased risk of adverse health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Despite this, many individuals do not prioritize sleep as they should.
Fortunately, sleep is a modifiable aspect of health that can be improved without incurring any costs. The circadian rhythm, or sleep/wake cycles, is largely controlled by the hormones melatonin and cortisol, which are influenced by external factors such as light exposure. Ideally, cortisol levels should be highest in the morning when melatonin is at its lowest, signalling the body to wake up. As nighttime approaches, rising melatonin levels should induce sleepiness. However, exposure to artificial light, especially blue light, can disrupt this pattern and negatively impact sleep.
To optimize sleep, it is recommended to reduce artificial light exposure as bedtime approaches. This includes minimizing screen time on electronic devices and using low-light lamps or candlelight as sunset approaches. Blue light blocking glasses or color filters for devices can also be beneficial. Once in bed, it is important to minimize light as much as possible, using sleep masks or blackout curtains to create a dark sleep environment. In the morning, exposure to natural light upon waking can help stimulate wakefulness.
In summary, there are six ways to work with light to optimize sleep:
By implementing these strategies, individuals can improve their sleep quality and overall health.