Why is it so hard to fall asleep after looking at our screens

We’ve all reached for our phones in the middle of the night, only to be pulled down a kind of rabbit hole that keeps us up. (If you haven’t, please share your secrets for self-control.)

A good night’s sleep is important to your health. Chronic sleep problems can lead to cognitive impairment and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. And getting enough rest is a big problem for teenagers You are having a sleep crisis Due to factors including nighttime technology use, busy schedules, and heavy homework loads. American adults also have a hard time sleeping with 70% of adults report that they do not get enough sleep At least one night a month, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.

Much ado has been made about the blue light our devices emit, but the ways technology hijacks our sleep goes much further. Sleep experts say the content we watch has the biggest impact on our sleep.

Well, what should we do about this? Sure, you can leave your phone in another room for the night, but that may not be possible for adults who want access to them in an emergency. The simplest solution is to eliminate the temptation to scroll completely. Gadgets from tech companies can help, including new features from TikTok and Instagram, two oft-cited sources of distraction for the night.

If we get disturbing news, a scary movie, or an annoying work email right before bed or in the middle of the night, the stress hormone cortisol can spike. High cortisol provides an energy boost by moving glucose from a stored state in the body to an active state. “It’s like eating a candy bar,” says Jamie Zeitzer, co-director of the Stanford Center for Sleep and Everyday Sciences. Getting out of this rush of energy can be difficult.

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Positive content can be quite disruptive because it can increase the amount of dopamine or norepinephrine in the brain, says dr. Zeitzer, the two neurotransmitters can excite the hypothalamus — the brain’s information-transmission center — and disrupt brain wave vibrations needed for sleep.

Worrying about not sleeping can make things worse. Dr. Zeitzer explains that when we worry that we won’t be able to get back to sleep, we actually do I can not Going back to sleep because this anxiety causes more cortisol to be released.

TikTok is testing a new feature that will remind people when it’s time to go to bed.



If any of this sounds familiar, don’t despair. Sleep and digital media experts suggest trying these things:

Know your triggers. Not all screen activity is bad for sleep. Start by assessing what stresses or arouses you when you look at your phone — and what helps you calm down. You should also be more aware of the time you spend on your device. we You tend to lose track of time When we’re on our phones, that can eat into the seven hours of sleep a night doctors say adults need (teens need eight to 10 hours).

Reshape your habits. Once you’ve identified the screen-related activities that trigger your anger, shift those earlier in the evening and do more relaxing activities closer to bedtime, says Neetun Verma, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He says that telling patients not to use screens an hour or two before bed is very upsetting for some people, and ends up being unsustainable. Instead, he advises people to reduce the level of emotion and excitement generated by the screen over the course of an evening so that it’s “like landing on a plane.”

Prepare a list. If you’re the kind of person who worries at night about what’s ahead of the next day, some sleep experts suggest making a to-do list before bed, so you don’t keep yourself awake making mental lists. You don’t have to get out the paper and pen: the Notes app on your phone makes it easy, or try one of the note-taking apps I mentioned here.

Use technology to combat technology. You may soon be able to curb your late-night scrolling on TikTok. The video-sharing app, which is owned by ByteDance Ltd. -New sleep reminder feature. When you set a bedtime in TikTok, the app will mute push notifications for the next seven hours and prompt you to close them. TikTok in 2021 began disabling notifications during overnight hours for teens.

thanks for the New feature introduced this weekInstagram users have the ability to set times in the app when they don’t want to be disturbed. When Quiet Mode is enabled, you will not receive notifications and the app that owns it

identification platforms company

An automatic reply will be sent to any DMs letting them know you’re offline. The app will ask teens to turn on quiet mode when they’re on Instagram between midnight and 4am

Instagram’s new Quiet Mode setting lets you schedule downtime from the app and notify followers when you’re offline.



There are more options on the phones themselves.

You can turn on Do Not Disturb on a file Iphone or a Android phone During the hours you choose, during which time you can allow calls or notifications only from specific people or apps. in iPhone Focus on sleeping setting, you can set a sleep goal and create bedtime reminders as well as enable Sleep Screen, which dims your lock screen at bedtime.

iPhones also have a terminated feature while Android phones have it bedtime mode, They both silence your phones at the time of your choosing.

Just look at the time. Many of us tap on our phone screens to check the time in the middle of the night. It can tempt us to unlock our phones and scroll. If you followed the other steps listed here, you should be able to resist. You can also buy an alarm clock just for this purpose.

Create a family plan for tech. Leaving your phone out of the bedroom may not be practical for many adults, but I advise parents to keep all devices away from children’s bedrooms. Andrea Davis, founder of Better Screen Time, a company that educates families about healthy digital habits, suggests parents create a tech plan with their kids, which spells out when, where and how devices can be used. She says parents should follow the rules, too. She didn’t trust herself not to look at her phone while she was in bed, so she and her kids agreed to charge her phone in another room at night. Her husband keeps his phone in the bedroom in case of an emergency.

Restart your sleep routine. If you still wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself ruminating, don’t keep tossing and turning, says Vijay Ramanan, MD, a Mayo Clinic neurologist. He suggests getting up for 15 minutes and restarting the routine that helped you fall asleep in the first place. Turn to your phone just to find a calming meditation, audiobook, or podcast.

Share your thoughts

What strategies help you avoid scrolling late at night or early in the morning? Join the conversation below.

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Write to Julie Jargon at [email protected]

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