The world has gone tech-savvy and tech-crazy! In the US, 96 percent of Americans own cell phones of some kind, . 81 percent own smartphones, a figure that’s up from just 35 percent in 2011. On average, American consumers check their phones about 52 times a day. Around 39 percent confess that they use their phones excessively. Why are these numbers significant? Because we’re facing a ‘device addiction’ to the point where we’re missing out on sleep. And it’s not just our addiction that’s the problem. The light emitted from screens actually keeps us awake. One fuels the other and the result is lack of sleep, which itself can set off a host of problems such as difficulty focusing, irritability, forgetfulness and being tired. At the worst, chronic sleep deprivation can cause stress, reduce libido, lead to weight gain and cardiovascular issues.
In order to understand this, we need to take a look at something called the circadian rhythm, which is a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle that we undergo. Think of it like a timing device that’s influenced by light and darkness. When these are changed, the circadian rhythm speeds up or slows down and even resets. This rhythm in turn influences hormone release, digestion, body temperature, and other functions.
The body’s master clock, which is a group of thousands of neurons, resides in the brain and is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). It receives input from the eyes. The SCN regulates the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. When the eyes receive less light, more melatonin is produced to make us drowsy. When there’s too much light, melatonin production drops and sleep becomes elusive.
Most devices emit blue light, which in itself isn’t bad. Blue wavelengths are helpful during waking hours as they increase attention, reaction times and even mood. These qualities, however, aren’t conducive to sleep. Being hooked on devices and exposed to blue light prevents the brain from producing the melatonin we need for sleep.
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Reducing device addiction requires taking deliberate steps. It can be hard at first but with time, work and a little patience, you won’t be a slave to your device.
It’s like setting alarms to remind you to get up and walk when you have a desk job. Set reminders spaced out over 30 minutes to check your phone. Gradually extend it to 45 minutes and then an hour. When you do check your phone, make sure to go through all the notifications. You can also inform family and friends that you may take a while to respond to their messages so that they don’t contact you repeatedly when you don’t answer quickly.
Social media is a lot of fun. Receiving likes, comments and sharing content with each other is part of the joy. But it can encourage an unhealthy urge to log in and use social media. One way to discourage the urge is to uninstall social media apps from handheld devices. Make it so that you only check your social media when you’re on a computer and at set times.
Push notifications can be handy but you should turn them on only for important apps like your office email. A lot of the times, push notifications are turned on by default when you install an app. All you have to do to disable them is to go into your device’s settings, pull up notifications and control your preferences.
It’s a common habit with bad consequences as it encourages you to log into social media, browse the web or play games. Your device should never be the last thing you check before sleeping. Instead, read a pleasant book or listen to soothing music.
Going on a device detox can be a little unsettling. It’s like trying to break any habit. To make the process easier and, in turn, encourage sleep, set a bedtime routine that’s relaxing and calming. It could be taking a warm bath, having a glass of milk or meditating. To tie it all together, use a good mattress that lulls you to sleep with its comfort and support. The Nuvanna mattress is the perfect mattress for that! With its triple-layer construction that cools, isolates motion and supports the body, it promises better sleep each night.
In this age of tech, it’s almost impossible to give up devices altogether. And you don’t have to!. You just need to learn to control your usage instead of letting it control your life. A device detox not only lets you sleep better but it also frees up your time, which can be spent doing the things you love. You’ll feel less stressed, be happier, and will have more time to spend with your loved ones.