how to reduce screen time

Can’t sleep? Here’s why it’s important to reduce screen time before bed

Whether it’s scrolling through social media and news or watching a video, excessive screen time before going to bed can severely interfere with your quality of sleep.
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You are ready to hit the bed after a long and taxing day. You skim through your regular bedtime rituals until your brain takes the cue to hit the snooze button. You pick your phone, set your alarm, and suddenly receive a notification. You tap to view it—and the next thing you realise—you have wasted almost an hour of your precious sleep time mindlessly scrolling through your phone. Now let’s consider scenario two. You are ready to go to sleep but decide to unwind by watching one episode of your favourite series on your laptop. However, you end up watching way more than that. In both cases, your sleep suffers maximum damage. Whether it is scrolling through social media and news or watching a video, excessive screen time before going to bed severely interferes with the quality of your sleep. Hence, it is important for you to learn how to reduce screen time.

Most adults require at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health and wellbeing. However, most of us do not get enough quality sleep because we spend more and more time on our phones and laptops. As harmless as this habit may seem, research concludes that using digital devices an hour before bedtime can seriously impair our sleep. This is because our bodies respond to cues such as light and dark. By way of conditioning, when it gets dark, our bodies get ready to release melatonin, the sleep hormone. But the act of looking at a screen before sleeping sends mixed signals to the body. So instead of shutting down for sleep, the body gets the signal to stay awake and remain alert. This sleep deprivation can, over time, become chronic and lead to serious consequences such as lack of focus, impaired memory, high blood pressure, fatigue, and headaches among others.

Although it can be difficult to kick your screen habit before bedtime, here are a few hacks that can help you reduce your screen time before going to bed.

Break the habit

With our lives quite literally revolving around digital technology, it has become difficult to pull ourselves away from our screens, even when it is time to sleep. Therefore, the first step towards reducing screen time before bed is by nipping the problem in the bud. To break the habit, you need to simply set a boundary on your screen time by putting a reminder at least an hour before you are planning to hit the bed. Once you set this boundary, you can distract yourself from your phone by engaging in relaxing activities that can aid your sleep. Once you consciously start developing a , you will find yourself slowly breaking free from the need to scroll through your phone before sleeping.

Meditate before bedtime

We all know that meditation can work wonders for the body and mind. But when you practise meditation before sleeping, it creates the perfect mental condition required for deep and restful sleep. Your mind automatically calms down and empties itself of the day’s stress, worries, and mental chatter, making way for a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind. Moreover, meditation before sleeping is also beneficial for your heart and blood pressure and also works in activating parts of the brain that control sleep, according to a study.

Read a book or listen to a podcast

Remember your childhood days when reading bedtime stories was a regular habit? Well, it is time to bring that habit back. Reading before going to sleep is one of the healthiest bedtime rituals to follow. When you are deeply engrossed in a book, you stop yourself from reaching out for your digital devices before sleeping. The act of reading a book before bedtime not only calms and relaxes your mind but is also a great natural way of inducing sleep.

Another helpful way of entertaining yourself before going to bed is to listen to podcasts. Listening to calming podcasts helps you fall asleep faster without the need of absorbing the harmful light from your digital screens.

Plan for the next day before sleeping

Consider this. You have a long and eventful day at work the next day, and decide to hit the bed early to wake up fresh and energetic. You go to bed on time, but your phone veers you off-track. The next thing you know, you have stayed up way past bedtime and are now struggling to sleep. As expected, you wake up the next day feeling groggy, sleep-deprived, and out of focus. A fool-proof way of resolving this persistent problem can be by spending the time, which you would have otherwise used on your smartphone, preparing and planning for the next day. When you plan your day the night before, it not only makes you more productive but also allows you to sleep in peace.

Turn off your Wi-Fi before hitting the bed

Since almost everything that keeps us up at night comes from the internet, it is advisable to turn it off before bedtime. And this is not just to aid your sleep. According to research, Wi-Fi routers emit an electromagnetic field of radiation known as EMF radiation, which has been linked to several negative consequences on health, including poor quality of sleep. You can turn off the Wi-Fi or use an internet blocker at least 30 minutes prior to sleep to cut off screen time before bedtime.

1 Comment
  • raji_bandodkar
    on August 31, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Very useful info. I will definitely try to include this in my routine, I will read and meditate before going to sleep. Thank you. I am writing this so i can do this consciously.

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