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Sleep and Technology: Managing Screen Time for Better Rest


We’ve all been there. You come home from work and the first thing you reach for is your phone, and the next thing you know, it’s 2:00 am and your eyes feel like two lumps of clay. In this day and age, technology has a more profound hold on us than ever before, and it can effect how well we sleep. In this article, we’ll explore the impact of technology on sleep and how to manage your screen time for better rest.

1. Technology in the Bedroom: A New Normal

In an age of digital disruption and technological advancement, having technology in the bedroom is becoming a broader norm. There are various types of tech making its way into the bedroom; from laptops and phones to smart speakers and exercise equipment. Below are the typical tech items making a name for themselves in the bedroom.

  • Laptops and Smartphones: Laptops and phones now tend to be the most popular items in the bedroom, as they can be used for both work and leisure activities. Be it browsing through social media, streaming content, or attending a virtual conference, these devices are proving indispensable.
  • Smart Speakers: A great way to control the ambiance in the bedroom is to have a handy and convenient smart speaker. With voice control technology, you can easily set the lighting, temperature, and also listen to music effortlessly. It’s an all round tech device to have in the bedroom.
  • Exercise Equipment: Bring the gym to the bedroom with a range of exercise machines offering diverse workout solutions. From treadmills, cycling machines, and even low-impact exercise bands, having these pieces of tech in the bedroom allows fitness fanatics to exercise from the comfort of their own home.

In the age of technology, there’s no surprise to find that people are now getting tech-savvy and bringing the tech-world to their bedrooms. With the convenience of accessing work and entertainment from the comfort of your own room, this type of lifestyle could be the new normal.

Moreover, the ability to customize the ambiance of the bedroom with voice control technology is a great advantage to having smart speakers. And having the liberty and flexibility to exercise from home with the help of exercise machines is making it easier for people who find it difficult to go to the gym every day.

To conclude, having technology in the bedroom is a modern necessity in 2021 – and beyond – for having access to work and entertainment, as well as controlling one’s bedroom’s surroundings and having options for exercising all within one’s own place.

2. The Unwelcome Effects of Screen Time on Sleep

The average child spends close to seven hours of their day absorbed in some type of digital device or application. Unsurprisingly, this abundance of screen time has been linked to a host of negative consequences including:

  • Exposure to Stimulation: Electronic devices emit blue light, a type of light with a shorter wavelength and higher frequency, which is known to trick our brains into thinking it’s daytime—causing sleeplessness.
  • Over-Stimulation: It is also believed that intense video gaming or certain forms of content (scary movies, adult films, etc) can have profound effects on our conscious and subconscious, making it difficult to switch off before bedtime.

It’s no surprise that when day turns to night, our energy levels naturally begin to dip, yet increased exposure to evening screen time has the potential to do the opposite. This sequence of events, referred to as cyber-arousal, is one of the contributing factors to poor sleep quality in digital natives—those who have grown up with technology.

As well as the body’s natural inclination for cozy slumber, sleep allows us to lock in and consolidate memories from the day—without it, our performance levels can take a noticeable hit. By skimping on the night-time screen limit parents can help ensure their children are able to get the best out of their daytime hours.

Prolonged screen time is often referred to as a modern day pandemic, and an alarming amount of scientific research points to a strong link between technology and sleep deprivation. As such, it is highly recommended for parents to limit the night-time use of their children’s devices, in order to maintain healthy sleep patterns.

3. Strategies to Reduce Screen Time and Improve Sleep Quality

We all know how screentime can sometimes take up too much of our lives and that it can disrupt our mental health and sleep cycle if we let it. It often seems impossible to figure out how to reduce our screen time and improve our sleep quality, but with a little effort, it is possible to get control of our devices and start living a healthier life. Here are three strategies that you can use to reduce your screen time and improve your sleep quality:

  • Control Your Technology: You can start by controlling the time you spend on your phone and other devices. Setting a timer for how long you allow yourself on your devices can help to reduce your overall screentime.
  • Create A Bedtime Routine: Creating a nightly routine and cutting down on screens two hours before you go to bed will help with your sleep. Engaging in something relaxing like reading, doing yoga, listening to music, or even journaling can help calm your mind and enable better sleep quality.
  • Mindful Media Consumption: Be mindful of the type of media you’re consuming. Limit yourself to only looking for content that is actually necessary. Spend time doing conversations with others instead of getting lost in technology.

It takes time to develop habits and change your lifestyle, so try to take it one step at a time. Be patient with yourself and make small, achievable goals. Try setting some limits in terms of how many hours or days of the week to spend away from screens. And when you find yourself struggling, try to remember why you’re doing this in the first place.

Having a healthy relationship with technology is possible and these strategies are a great place to start. So, take control of your tech usage and aim for healthier sleep habits. You’ll find that soon enough, your quality of life will be much improved.

4. Examining the Impact of Technology on Bedtime Routine

These days, technology is pervasive in our lives – from the time we wake up in the morning to the time we finally turn out the lights and rest. With so much of our lives revolving around screens, it’s easy to forget that our bedtime routine doesn’t necessarily have to closely resemble the activities we’re obssessed with throughout the day. Let’s take a closer look at how technology impacts our wind-down routine.

Lit Up Like a Christmas Tree at Bedtime

By no means are LED screens – whether from cellphones or TVs – the only sources of light when it comes to winding down for the night. But it’s no secret they are the first culprits that come to mind. It’s true that blue light stimulates our brains and keeps us up, so it’s best to switch off those screens at least an hour before bedtime. Going cold turkey helps – no more mindlessly scrolling through Instagram while tucked in bed.

Unplug and Unwind

  • Put away laptops, tablets, phones and other devices at least an hour before hitting the sack and try to engage in non-screen activities such as:
    • Reading a book
    • Meditating
    • Doing a light stretch or yoga session
  • These activities will help to release the grip technology has over you, and allow for a better night’s rest.

Younger Generations And The Eternal Struggle against Technology

Children and teenagers today are more exposed to light from all kinds of screens. The “bright and shining” screens of technology don’t allow their brains to relax and get into the mood for sleep. Parents should regulate how often their kids are exposed to the lights and sounds from these screens and set a good example with their own nighttime habits.

By adjusting our usage of technology in the hours before bed, we can allow our brains and bodies to truly relax and get a good night’s rest. Without relying excessively on screens to provide the necessary distraction before bedtime, we’ll make room for more calming activities such as reading a book, doing light exercise, or having a quick conversation with a family member.

Let’s take hold of our technology and use it directly to enhance the quality of our sleep by placing limits on wind-down time and taking affirmative steps towards managing our screens. Although sleep is an underrated act, it should not be taken for granted. We owe it to ourselves (and our devices) to integrate sleep with technology and welcome restful nights for better overall wellbeing.


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