#36alive 31: Sleep Well | Create A Technology ‘Curfew’

It’s no secret that we’re practically addicted to technology , and most of us feel as though we aren’t getting enough good quality sleep. In many cases, these two aspects are intertwined, and if we want to sleep better, feel better and live better, we have to change our relationship to technology.

Why Are We Addicted To Our Screens?

article-2646136-1e684e1200000578-876_634x408Here’s a little bit of science: Each time we do something that pleases us or stimulates us, dopamine is released into the body. Dopamine is the brain chemical associated with ‘pleasure’, and when we get a hit of it, we get a taste of it, and instantly start searching for more.

This is very similar to the way tigers act in the jungles of India and Nepal; they don’t usually bother humans, but after just one attack on a person, the tigers get a taste for us (and we’re pretty tasty)  so they start looking to satisfy that urge again by hunting for humans and even wandering into villages. The very same way, once we’ve tasted a dopamine rush from food, sex, money, excitement, cheese (yes, really!), and phone and computer screens, we start looking for it again and again, and the need for more grows bigger and bigger.

Night Light

snuggle-in-bed-playing-phone

If we were only on our phones, laptops, computers, tablets etc. during the day time, it would still be pretty bad, but would effect us as much as it currently is. The fact is, many of us are sending emails, working, scrolling through social media sites and replying to messages at night, when the brain is trying to wind down in time for sleep.

At night, the body naturally releases melatonin, a hormone that induces good quality sleep. There are however, a lot of different factors that contribute towards whether the body is ready – with the appropriate amount of hormones and chemicals released – to sleep. Darkness is one of them, and it’s something we’re really missing out on.

In order to properly wind down to sleep, it’s important to turn any screens off at least 30 minutes before going to bed (60-90 minutes would be optimal). The light from these screens really screws up the body’s ability to actually realise it’s night time, so the appropriate hormones aren’t secreted, the nervous system doesn’t calm down, and getting good quality sleep (essential for repairing damage to the body and immune system, clearing toxins, preparing digestion for the next day, processing experiences and emotions, and generally helping you to look your best), is out of the question.

melatoninSleep isn’t just important in order to feel lively the next day, melatonin (remember – the sleep inducer), ‘is not just a critical hormone for regulating our sleep; it’s also an important anti-cancer hormone’, says Shawn Stevenson, author of Sleep SmarterThe light from screens inhibits production of melatonin, but so does the radiation from electronic devices. A study published in Radiation Protection Dosimetry found that melatonin secretion is significantly disrupted by exposure to electromagnetic fields (like the ones from phones and computers), and strongly advise that we limit our exposure to these types of devices.

video-time-of-day-graph
Chart showing the most popular time of day for checking Instagram (between 9pm and 8am)

Children, teenagers and young adults are most at risk too, not just because they’re likely to be the ones sleeping right next to their phones and checking Instagram late into the night, but because their skull bones are thinner, allowing for deeper and more profound impact of mobile phone and computer radiation. This can lead to partoid gland tumors and brain tumors.

Remove Unwanted Guests From The Bedroom Tonight…

icon-sleep-1z83y6pNo, we don’t mean kicking your partner out of the bedroom, but we do recommend removing the factors which are all contributing towards exhaustion, stress, fatigue, weight gain, emotional ups and downs, and brain fog.

  • Start by leaving your laptop and phone downstairs whilst you’re asleep. From experience, this can immediately have a very powerful effect.

You’re likely to feel instantly calmer, knowing that for once, no one can get hold of you or demand your attention. Trust us – no on expects you to reply to messages or emails at 11pm (and if they do, maybe it’s time to make some changes). If you use your phone as an alarm clock, invest in a cheap non-electrical wind-up clock, or at least something that isn’t a phone. Your body, mind, brain, nervous system, friends and family will thank you for it!

Try this simple, yet transformational tip tonight and let us know how you feel!

 

 

 

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