The one habit 80% of us have that prevents a good night’s sleep!

 Insomnia owl

“I've always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.” - David Benioff, City of Thieves

 

Our sleep cycle is carefully balanced and there’s many things that can put it out of sync. These include medication we’re taking, the food we eat, the type of day we’ve had, our emotional state and our health. It’s very difficult to identify what exactly prevents us from getting a good night’s sleep, but there’s one thing for sure, 80%* of us have one bad habit which is spoiling our sleep. It’s smartphones.

 

Technology is supposed to make our lives better and more efficient, right? In some cases, it has detrimental effects on how we are functioning, with sleep being one of those victims. Do you take your phone to bed with you? It’s likely that you do. And why not? After all, emails don’t stop coming in just because we’re sleeping. And people don’t stop liking or commenting on our Instagram photos. Between the ages of 18 and 44 years, the majority of us keep our phone in our room** which leaves us susceptible to the temptation of checking it ‘one last time’ before we sleep or even in the middle of the night if it buzzes or we just can’t sleep.

 

There’s more bad news about the link between smartphones and disrupted sleep; the screens emit a blue light which disrupts melatonin in our body, the hormone that helps with our sleep timings and circadian rhythms. Research undertaken by Anne-Marie Chang made the discovery that when her subjects read from an iPad rather than a paper book, they took longer to fall asleep and spent less time in REM sleep (REM sleep is important as it the restorative phase of sleep). iPads emit the same blue light as smartphones do.

 

In addition, social media and responding to emails before night stimulates our brain which can prevent it properly ‘powering down’ just before bed. And in a similar way that sugar gives us a high, so does the excitement at receiving a tweet or Facebook message, similarly keeping us alert.

 

So what to do? Here’s five ways to help you break this bad habit and get a better night’s sleep:

  1. Stay away from all devices up to two hours before you go to sleep. Everyone reacts different to smartphone stimuli but it is thought that at least two hours is required to help settle our body.
  2. Keep smartphones, iPads and Kindles out of the bedroom. This will keep the temptation to check your phone at bay or look to reading if you can’t sleep.
  3. Replace Kindles and iPad books with paper books. It’s time to return to the old school way of reading!
  4. Practice 5 minutes of meditation before you sleep. This can help calm your brain down and program it get ready to sleep.
  5. Use H7 Insomnia Control, a patch which has been clinically tested to control insomnia and uses the Heart 7 pressure point, also known as the ‘insomnia press point’ to induce a natural night’s sleep, without drugs or invasive technology.

 

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