18 January 2016

SLEEP HYGIENE TIP OF THE WEEK: Are you *still* checking your phone at bedtime?

Back in December, you may have decided you would take control over your smartphone habits and practice turning your phone off before bedtime.

Have you?

Are you still checking your phone at bedtime? And what are you checking? Your email? Your social networks? Your Twitter account?

Are you playing a game on your phone? That's part of the "checking your phone" habit. So is reading a book, looking at the week's weather, updating your calendar, catching up on your blog feed, adding notes to your grocery list, looking at pictures, sharing from Pinterest or Instagram, shopping online, writing in a phone diary app, recording your meal data for dietary purposes or texting.

Oh, and making phone calls. Especially if you use the speaker feature and stare at the screen rather than hold the phone to your ear or put it aside.

Check out Sleep Judge's  article, "The Many Different Ways Technology Affects Sleep," to clarify matters. They share some other sneaky ways that our nighttime love affair with tech can hold our sleep health hostage, including some you may have never thought about.

All of your phone tasks need to be done an hour before bedtime. If you use your phone right up to the moment you go to bed, you risk altering your brain chemistry to halt melatonin production, which is necessary for sleep to take place. And you also risk stimulating your brain precisely when it needs to relax and shut down for the night.

We at SHC understand the need to keep a phone on the nightstand for emergencies or to use as an alarm. However, pre-setting your Do Not Disturb feature and alarms before bedtime makes it easy to just plug your phone into its charger, TURN IT FACE DOWN, and leave it for the night.

No need to check it!

Even if you did not resolve to set aside your smartphone at bedtime, do yourself a solid... put it away before you go to bed. Here are some legit reasons why: