Our phone screens are usually the last thing we see at night and the first thing we see every morning. Unfortunately, this is probably one of the worst thing we can do to our bodies before sleeping.
We should all know by this point that looking at a screen before bed is bad for you. This is because your body has to wind down properly before bed, and looking at a screen wakes you up.
Why does it keep you awake?
Although hard to get away from, looking at Facebook, texting, or playing video games before bed increases stress in your body, releasing cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is responsible for waking you up. So now, your body, instead of producing the hormone melatonin, which basically puts you to sleep, ends up releasing cortisol, which wakes you up.
Also, the blue-light that is given off by screens, slows down the amount of melatonin released in your body. Basically, your body has now, after millions of years of evolution, adapted to understand that the warm red light of sunset means that the body needs to sleep, while the bright blue light of the morning is a sign to wake the body up. It’s as simple as that, but it’s really difficult to fix or change.
Why does it matter?
Who cares if you lose a little sleep here and there, right? No.
This effects a lot more than just having a bad sleep. The disruption of your body's sleep cycle, increases your risk for diabetes and obesity, as well as the risk for more serious diseases, such as breast cancer, if it occurs for many consecutive years.
The neurotoxins that are built up during the day can’t get cleaned unless you have a good night’s sleep. Those neurotoxins then hang around in your brain, making you groggy, impairing your memory and attention span. Not to mention, your metabolism will be ruined.
How to fix it without kicking the habit completely
Of course, the best solution is to turn off your devices before planning to go to bed, but that is incredibly unrealistic when our whole lives are on our devices.
A simple and realistic fix is to add a blue-light filtering app to your devices. These apps change the appearance of your screen in accordance to the time of the day that you’re using the device. Once it's dark outside, the screen appears redder and warmer than the usual blue-lit screen.
Looking at a screen before bed can have serious short-term and long-term effects for your body. Try to limit your screen time at night, and use a filtering app to get a better night's sleep.