7 Tips to Reduce Smartphone Use in Bed and Improve Sleep Hygiene


Getting quality sleep is vital to your overall well-being, but, chances are, you find it hard to resist the urge to indulge in one last scroll or check in with your notifications before bedtime. This often leads to long late-night browsing sessions, sleep deprivation, and tiredness throughout the day.

Although several things can harm your sleep, smartphone use in bed is one of the most common culprits. Try these tips to help you break this habit and improve your sleep hygiene.

1. Implement a “No Phone in Bed” Rule

The most effective way to reduce nighttime smartphone use is to keep your device away from your bedroom during bedtime. But you might wonder why using your smartphone before bedtime is a bad habit.

There are two main reasons why you should avoid using your phone before sleeping. Firstly, your smartphone and other electronic devices emit blue light that can affect your productivity and sleep cycle by suppressing melatonin production, which is responsible for helping you fall asleep. Secondly, your smartphone contains an endless stream of content, which can lead to overstimulation and distraction that keeps you up at night instead of helping you fall asleep.

This is why you should never use your phone in bed. Instead, create a tech-free sleep environment to improve your sleep hygiene. You can achieve this by keeping your chargers in a separate room or far out of reach to avoid the urge to use your phone in bed.

2. Set Up a Sleep Focus or Bedtime Mode

One of the best ways to improve your sleep hygiene is to ensure you stick to a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and aiming to wake up at the same time every day, including on weekends. This allows your body to adjust naturally to a specific sleep routine, making it easier for you to fall asleep at a set time and enjoy enough quality sleep throughout the night.

If you find it challenging to keep your smartphone out of your bedroom, you can leverage its built-in features to improve your sleep hygiene. For instance, you can set up Sleep Focus on your iPhone to create your sleep schedule and reduce distractions during bedtime. To achieve this, go to Settings > Focus > Sleep, tap the plus (+) button, and select Sleep.

Using an Android phone, you can customize your sleep schedule using Bedtime mode. To enable Bedtime mode, go to Settings > Digital Wellbeing and parental controls > Bedtime mode.

3. Use Night Shift or Blue Light Filter and Dark mode

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons you should avoid using your smartphone or other light-emitting devices close to or during your bedtime is because the blue light emitted from their screens negatively impacts your sleep cycle.

That said, you can schedule the blue light filter on your Android device to reduce your exposure to blue light during specified hours. You can also use Night Shift to reduce blue light on your iPhone. Lastly, although dark mode on your device won’t necessarily reduce blue light emission, many users find it reduces eye strain, especially in a dark room.

4. Use Sleep Apps

There’s a range of third-party sleep apps you can choose from to improve your sleep hygiene. You can download a free app called Insight Timer to listen to relaxing music that can help you wind down before bedtime. Do you prefer bedtime tales? There’s a wide selection of sleep stories available to help you sleep faster.

Insight Timer also provides guided sleep meditation sessions that you can listen to before bedtime. And you may learn a thing or two from its Sleep courses, which offer tips and tricks to help you sleep better.

Download: Insight Timer for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

5. Avoid Checking Emails During Your Bedtime

While this sounds like a productive habit—after all, it’s generally acceptable to prepare for the next day before sleeping—it can quickly turn into long late-night work sessions. Besides, checking emails during bedtime can be mentally stimulating and keep you awake instead of helping you sleep, leading to grogginess and lack of energy during the following day.

This is why it’s best to steer clear of emails at bedtime. You can review your emails and prepare for the next day a few hours before bedtime. To avoid the temptation of checking emails late at night, you can leverage your phone’s Sleep or Bedtime mode or mute notifications.

This way, you don’t have to worry about emails keeping you up all night when it’s time to sleep. You should consider replacing this mentally-stimulating habit with relaxing bedtime activities.

6. Try Relaxing Bedtime Activities That Don’t Involve Screens

A woman reading in bed

Say goodbye to late-night doom-scrolling sessions, movie nights, or video gaming marathons that keep you up all night, and hello to more relaxing and calming bedtime activities that will help you sleep better and enjoy a good night’s rest.

Considering that blue-light-free environments can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better, it’s a good idea to limit your screen time and try activities that don’t involve screens, such as reading a book, writing in a physical journal, or meditating. These activities can help you drift off to sleep quickly and wake up feeling energized.

7. Use an Analog Alarm Clock

You can take an extra step away from distracting screens by investing in an analog alarm clock. Using an alarm clock will help you avoid the temptation of indulging in late-night activities on your phone so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and alert.

In addition, if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night and check your smartphone, an analog alarm clock will help you avoid this habit. Lastly, you won’t be tempted to start your morning by browsing endless Twitter rants or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. This allows you to start your day more proactively and get the most out of it.

Get Enough Quality Sleep by Reducing Your Smartphone Usage During Bedtime

Although smartphones and other blue-light-emitting devices have become integral to many parts of life, they can keep you from getting a good night’s rest. This is why it is essential to limit your smartphone usage during bedtime (or choose your bedtime apps wisely) to improve your sleep hygiene and productivity throughout the day.


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