It's bedtime, but you just remembered you need to send a quick email before you hit the hay. After you send it, you instinctively check your Facebook and Instagram. Before you know it, you're watching a tenth cat video and it's an hour after your original bedtime. Sound familiar? You're not alone. Many people have a hard time "shutting down" at night, especially when it comes to their electronics. It’s distracting to be constantly connected to your own social and professional networks as well as bombarded by media at all hours of the day.
Unfortunately, if you're heading to bed with your smartphone plugged in inches from your head or the television on for "background noise," you're probably not getting the best sleep your body is capable of. Did you know that completely disconnecting can help you fall asleep more quickly and enjoy a better night of sleep? Despite this fact, many people struggle to turn off their smartphones, televisions, and other electronic devices before they head to bed each night. Want to learn how to sleep better? Read on to explore the benefits of unplugging before bed, how to get used to a new bedtime routine and ideas for other ways to unwind before getting some shuteye.
Health Benefits of Unplugging Before Bed
When you begin completely unplugging before you go to bed (this means shutting off your TV, silencing your phone and turning off all other electronics in your bedroom), you'll automatically begin getting more sleep each night because you won't find yourself distracted for hours by YouTube, social media, or TV while you should really be sleeping. When you're not being woken up by smartphone notifications, you'll also enjoy improved sleep quality, which will leave you feeling more alert, energized, and refreshed when you wake up. When you wake up feeling more energized, you're also less likely to experience stress and depression. You may also be more likely to have the energy for daily exercise, which helps you improve your overall wellbeing.
Getting Used to a New Bedtime Routine
Of course, getting accustomed to not using electronics before bed isn't easy for everybody. The best way to learn how to sleep better and transition to a new routine is to do it gradually. Start by shutting off all your electronics 10 minutes before bed, then work your way up to a half hour, an hour, or even two hours. If you're afraid you'll give into the temptation of having your devices in the same room where you're sleeping, consider keeping your phones, tablets, laptops stored in a separate room while you're sleeping. Just make sure you've got an "old-school" alarm clock to wake you up in the absence of your smartphone.
Alternative Activities for Better Sleep
There are plenty of activities you can partake in before bed that will be conducive to helping you fall asleep peacefully. Consider making a habit of allowing yourself to read a book for a half-hour before bed, or take some time to reflect on your day by writing in a journal. Find your inner peace in both body and mind by completing a short meditation session, or listening to some soothing music. If you have children, make sure they follow the same electronics-free bedtime routine. Choose (or allow them to choose) a family activity that you can all partake in before you head to bed each night.
It’s Hard, But You’ll Love the Results
There's simply no denying that unplugging before bed can improve your life in a number of ways, including teaching you how to sleep better, increasing your energy levels, and reducing stress. By following a few simple tips, even the most technologically dependent people can learn to cope without electronics before bed. And by partaking in relaxing activities, such as meditation and reading before bedtime, the transition can be made that much easier.