“Oh sleep! It is a gentle thing; Beloved from pole to pole,” said British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
But sometimes, the gentle beloved eludes our eyes, leaving our body and mind feeling tired when a new day dawns.
For years now, sleep advice has centered around some simple everyday things: don’t eat a heavy meal before bedtime, avoid alcohol and caffeine before you sleep, don’t take long naps in the afternoon—and such.
Now, another piece of important advice is gaining prominence. Sleep experts suggest you step away from your electronic gadgets at least one hour before you get into bed. Even if you cannot do this on a daily basis, try doing it at least a few times a week.
A National Sleep Foundation survey has found that 95% of Americans use some kind of electronic gadget in the hour before they sleep.
Television, video games, computer or cell phone—all of these expose you to artificial light, suppressing the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Further, these gadgets make you feel more alert at a time when you should actually be winding down for the night.
According to Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need.”
I have to admit that I tend to do my writing at night. This information makes me resolve to shift my writing hour to the morning, and leave the pivotal hour before bedtime open for some much-needed relaxation. Do you use tech gadgets before going to bed?