How to improve your sleep schedule in a tech-driven world

Technology in today’s digitally driven environment has significantly impacted our sleep schedules. 

Our normal sleep-wake cycles have been interrupted and our frequent exposure to screens has damaged the quality of our sleep, whether on smartphones, tablets or computers. 

But unplugging before bed might be an effective strategy for reclaiming our sleep and enhancing our general well-being. 

We may regain the proper balance between our digital lives and the essential hours of rest our bodies and minds require by cutting off technology and establishing a technology-free routine. 

In this article, we’ll examine how technology affects our sleep cycles and offer helpful advice on how to unplug before bed so that we may enjoy the many advantages of deep and refreshing sleep.

What is the sleep-wake cycle?

The circadian rhythm, often known as our sleep-wake cycle, controls how well we sleep at night. Our biological internal clock controls our sleep cycles, level of alertness, and general functioning. 

For our sleep pattern to be optimized, it is crucial to comprehend the complexities of this cycle. Consider the following important points:

Circadian rhythms and biological clocks

Our bodies have a 24-hour rhythm impacted by outside factors like light and dark. The brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is the body’s central timekeeper by coordinating various physiological procedures [1].

The importance of a consistent sleep schedule

Keeping a regular sleep pattern strengthens our body’s natural clock. Every day, going to bed and getting up at the same time aids in improved sleep quality regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.

Sleep stages and sleep architecture

NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep are two of the numerous phases that make up sleep, which is not continuous. 

Each stage performs certain tasks in terms of recovery, memory consolidation, and total brain activity.

Sleep stages and sleep architecture
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Factors influencing the sleep-wake cycle

Our sleep-wake cycle can be influenced by several circumstances, including light exposure, physical activity and mealtimes. We may optimize our sleep habits by making educated selections if we know these factors.

What is the impact of technology on sleep?

Technology is influencing every aspect of our lives in our increasingly digital society. But widespread electronics usage, especially right before bed, can greatly impact how well we sleep. 

To use technology responsibly, we must be aware of how it affects our ability to sleep. Consider the following important points:

Blue light and melatonin suppression

Electronic gadgets generate blue light, inhibiting the melatonin hormone’s ability to regulate sleep. 

Long-term nighttime exposure to blue light can interfere with our normal sleep-wake cycle and make it more difficult to sleep.

Stimulating content and cognitive stimulation

The brain can get activated and make it difficult to relax if you engage with stimulating content before night, such as social media, video games or dramatic movies. 

Technology’s use of cognitive stimulation can delay the beginning of sleep and worsen the quality of that sleep.

Social media, FOMO and sleep disturbances

The constant use of social media can make it harder to sleep. Feeling like you’re missing out because of social media can lead to anxiety and using your devices too much, which can make it even more difficult to sleep.

Disrupted sleep patterns and sleep disorders

Excessive use of electronics before bed can result in irregular sleep patterns generally, numerous nighttime awakenings and sleep deprivation

It may occasionally cause the onset or worsening of sleep problems including insomnia or sleep apnea.

How to create a sleep-friendly environment?

A relaxing, peaceful environment in our bedrooms is crucial to maximizing our sleep. The quality of our sleep may be greatly enhanced by designing a sleep-friendly environment. 

Key things to think about while designing the perfect sleeping environment include:

Optimize your bedroom for quality sleep

Make sure that sleeping and relaxing are the main purposes of your bedroom. To promote calm, eliminate distractions like office supplies or workout equipment. Set up a space that encourages comfort and serenity.

Noise reduction techniques and white noise machines

Excessive noise might impede sleep and cause nighttime awakenings. Use noise-canceling strategies, such as wearing earplugs or using white noise devices to cover distracting noises.

Temperature and humidity control for better sleep

Keep your bedroom at a reasonable temperature and humidity level. 

By providing a comfortable resting environment, cooler temperatures (about 60-67°F or 15-19°C) [2] and ideal humidity (approximately 40-60%) can promote greater sleep.

Soft lighting and blackout curtains

Use gentle, warm lighting to give your bedroom a relaxing atmosphere. Avoid harsh overhead lighting and choose dimmable bedroom lamps instead. 

Additionally, to eliminate outside light sources that can disrupt your sleep, consider installing blackout curtains or blinds.

How to establish a pre-bedtime routine

Your body might get a signal from a regular nighttime ritual that it is time to relax and get ready for sleep. 

You may streamline your transition from consciousness to sleep by adding relaxation methods and good behaviors into your daily routine. 

When creating a pre-bedtime routine, keep the following factors in mind:

Wind-down rituals

Before bed, participate in activities that will quiet you down and help you unwind. This can entail stretching, warm bathing, or mindfulness exercises. Your body receives a signal from wind-down routines that it is time to prepare for sleep.

Meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation

To encourage calmness and peace, including relaxation exercises in your pre-bedtime routine. 

Deep breathing techniques, gradual muscle relaxation, and meditation can all help calm the mind and unwind the body, making it easier to fall asleep.

Meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation
Photograph: seventyfourimages/Envato

Unplugging from devices

Set aside a specified time before bed to turn off all electronics. Sleep rhythms may be disturbed by displays’ blue light emissions. 

Instead, do something that doesn’t involve a screen, like reading a book, listening to calming music or taking up a pastime that helps you unwind.

Implementing technology-free time before bed

It’s essential to set aside time before going to bed to disconnect from electronics to protect your sleep from the disruptive impacts of technology. 

This deliberate detachment enables your body and mind to relax and prepare for a sound night’s sleep. 

The following are practical methods for establishing technology-free time before bed:

Establishing a digital curfew

Every evening, set a definite time for turning off all electronics. 

This digital curfew should ideally start at least 30 to 60 minutes before the time you want to go to bed, giving your mind plenty of time to rest [3].

Keeping devices out of the bedroom

You may make your bedroom a technology-free zone by taking away gadgets or designating a space where they are kept out of reach. 

This makes it easier to fall asleep and eliminates the desire to check social media, email or engage in other online activities.

Reading, journaling or hobbies

Activities that encourage relaxation and mental serenity should replace screen time. 

Take up hobbies that help you relax and take your attention away from screens, such as reading a book, writing, solving puzzles, playing an instrument or any other activity.

How to use technology for better sleep?

While using technology too much just before bed might interfere with sleep, other technological features and tools can help enhance sleep quality. 

You may take advantage of these developments to maximize your sleep schedule by utilizing technology. 

Here are several tech-based sleep-improvement strategies:

Sleep-tracking apps and wearable devices

Use wearable technology or sleep-tracking applications to measure your sleep habits and gain insights into the quantity and quality of your sleep. 

You can spot patterns with these tools and modify your sleep schedule.

Blue light filters and night mode settings

Use the night mode or blue light filters on your gadgets. 

These characteristics lessen the blue light that screens generate, which hurts melatonin synthesis and interferes with sleep.

Calming apps and soundscapes for relaxation

To unwind before bed, check out calming applications that provide guided meditations, breathing exercises or relaxing soundtracks [4]. 

These applications might help you unwind and create a calm environment that promotes sleep.

Smart home integration for a sleep-friendly environment

Create a sleep-friendly atmosphere by utilizing smart home technologies. Use dimmable smart lamps to create a soothing environment, or use smart thermostats to keep the right temperature in the bedroom for better sleep.

Conclusion

The influence of technology on our sleep patterns is evident in the modern digital era.

Before going to bed, turn off all electronics to improve the quality of your sleep and your general well-being. 

We can regain peaceful evenings and wake up feeling refreshed by knowing the science underlying sleep-wake cycles, adopting a sleep-friendly atmosphere, developing a pre-bedtime routine and using technology judiciously. 

Remember that the secret is establishing limits, relaxing, and prioritizing getting enough sleep. 

So take control of your sleep, unplug before bed, and get the rewards of a refreshed sleep schedule. Live well and sleep soundly.

FAQs

What may using technology to close to bedtime cause issues with?

Using technology right before night may affect the quality of your sleep and your ability to fall asleep. Screens’ blue light can inhibit melatonin synthesis, mess with the sleep-wake cycle, and make it more difficult to relax. The brain can also be activated and the beginning of sleep delayed by using gadgets to engage with stimulating material or do work-related tasks.

Why is it important to turn off electronics before going to bed?

Electronics produce blue light, which can inhibit the generation of melatonin, a hormone that governs sleep, so it’s crucial to switch them off before bed. It could be more difficult to fall asleep because of this disruption of the sleep-wake cycle. By shutting off technology, we create a relaxing atmosphere that enables our bodies and brains to get ready for a good night’s sleep.

What has the biggest impact on sleep?

Keeping a regular sleep pattern has the most influence on sleep. Every day, going to bed and getting up at the same time aids in improved sleep quality regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519507/
[2] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-the-ideal-sleeping-temperature-for-my-bedroom
[3] https://thesleepdoctor.com/sleep-hygiene/bedtime-rituals/
[4] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/technology-in-the-bedroom

Photograph: varyapigu/Envato
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