Reserve your bedroom for sleep

Image of Professor Colin Espie
by Professor Colin Espie

As the name suggests, our bedrooms are intended to be places of rest and relaxation. But in recent times they have been invaded by a variety of disruptive influences – mobile phones, tablets and laptops. These devices upset our sleep in two main ways. First, their screens produce a lot of “blue light” (visible light with relatively short wavelengths) which is known to suppress our natural sleep hormones. Second, the activities we tend to undertake using these devices – checking email and social media, playing games, watching exciting movies – keep us alert and engaged.

For both of these reasons you should ideally make your bedroom a “device exclusion zone”. If you need to use your phone as alarm clock at least be sure to switch it onto airplane mode as soon as you enter your bedroom, to discourage yourself from using it for anything else.

If you manage to reserve your bedroom for sleep and sleep only you are more likely to fall asleep faster each night, as your brain develops an ever-stronger association between that environment and sleep.

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