I had no idea that limiting my screen time before bed had these 5 surprising benefits. If you are someone that chronically sleeps with your phone, checks your email before going to sleep, or reads your tablet in bed, you owe it to yourself to continue reading.
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How Screen Light Affects Our Brains
I’m sure that you have read before that light emitted from electronics affects your ability to get a restful sleep.
Our bodies naturally produce melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles. When your body isn’t producing enough melatonin, you have a harder time falling and staying asleep.
Well, our screen devices emit a blue light that messes with our bodies natural ability to produce melatonin. We need melatonin to unwind, relax, and get a restful night’s sleep.
When you check your email on your phone or scroll through Facebook minutes before bedtime, your brain is telling your body that it’s not tired.
The more I read and learn about how screen devices negatively affect our bodies ability to unwind, the more convinced I am that technology is the number one reason why we don’t know how to rest anymore.
The Obvious Benefit of Turning Off Your Screen Device Before Bed
In fact, one survey reported that people check their phones up to 150 times a day(!), although 46 times per day is the national average.
At the end of the day, our minds are on overdrive. They need time to unwind from all of that technology.
As a parent, I’m very concerned about the impact that screen time at night has on our children.
Children who are allowed to use their devices at night get less sleep, go to bed later, and have reported greater sleepiness during the day.
All of these studies lead to the obvious benefit of turning off your device well before bedtime – you’ll get better sleep.
The consensus seems to be that we should turn off our screen devices at least one hour before bed. But turning them off at least two hours before bed is even better.
The 5 Surprising Benefits of Limiting Screen Time Before Bed
But I’ve also found that there are 5 surprising benefits of turning off your screen device before bed. Here’s what I’ve learned. When you power down well before going to bed, you’ll:
1. Be More Creative
Did you know that we are most creative when we’re tired? When our brains are off-peak, our thoughts are less efficient and wander more, leading to more creativity.
Try writing in your journal or working on some other creative project at night instead of sitting behind a screen.
I’ve also found that during a nighttime shower I often come up with some of my most creative ideas.
2. Connect More With Others
Before bed is also a great time to connect with the people most important to you. If you have children at home, you can read or pray together, have a conversation about the day, or just snuggle.
I’ve found that my children are much more likely to tell me what’s on their mind right before going to bed.
If you have a significant other, this could very well be the only uninterrupted time you have to connect with each other.
3. Feel Less Busy
When asking someone about their day, a commonly accepted response these days is that “I’m so busy.”
During the day, the time we used to spend resting our minds by sitting still or waiting for something or someone is now spent scrolling our Facebook newsfeed or checking email and text messages dozens of times a day.
And, at night we’re doing the same thing.
If we’re brutally honest with ourselves, reading an email right before bed does nothing but create stress. We’re most likely not going to respond to the email in bed, but we will be thinking about our response.
Scrolling through Facebook or other social media at night doesn’t do much for us either.
When we fill our minds with way too much information right before bed, it’s no wonder that we feel “so busy” all the time.
Our minds are busy.
They’re busy processing too much unnecessary information.
Instead, why not try implementing a nighttime routine that incorporates self-care and getting organized for the next day. You’ll clear your mind and sleep better.
4. Read More
I know many women who like to read on their tablets or computers.
Of course, reading before bed is a time-honored tradition for winding down and getting a good night’s sleep. But reading on a screen, especially a light-emitting device, will have the opposite effect.
The other problem with reading on your phone or tablet is that you’re more likely to get distracted by all of the other stuff. The internet is filled with information, as is your email, text messages, and social media.
Why not read a good old-fashioned novel in paper form?
I’ve been reading a novel every night before bed from my Book of the Month subscription and I’m loving it.
(By the way, if you haven’t heard of Book of the Month, I love how they do the heavy lifting for you by narrowing down the hundreds of new releases every month to just 5 books for you to choose your one book each month.)
5. Be Happier
When we don’t get enough sleep, it begins a domino effect of negative consequences. This domino effect leads to our inability to regulate our mood.
Less sleep can cause our bodies to produce more cortisol, the hormone that increases our stress level.
Higher stress levels can lead to anxiety and depression, which will affect our mood.
When we have a hard time regulating our mood, well, that can affect everything in our lives.
Our physical, emotional, and mental health all benefit from getting a good night’s rest, don’t you agree?
Tell me, do you look at a screen device before bed? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this issue in the comments section below.
With Gratitude and Joy,