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The Negative Effects of Screen Time Before Bed: Why You Should Put Down Your Devices

New research shows that screens can harm your sleep and overall health. Here's what you need to know.



Introduction:


It's hard to imagine life without screens. They're everywhere we look, from our phones and tablets to our laptops and TVs. But while screens can be a useful and entertaining part of our daily routine, they can also have negative effects on our health – especially when used right before bed.


In this post, we'll explore the latest research on the negative effects of screen time at night and offer tips for cutting back on screens before bedtime.


The Negative Effects of Screen Time on Sleep:


One of the main reasons why screen time at night can be harmful is because of the blue light that screens emit. Blue light has a shorter wavelength than other colors and is more effective at stimulating the brain. This can make it harder to fall asleep because the brain is still active and alert.


In addition to disrupting sleep, screens can also reduce the amount and quality of sleep we get. A study published in the journal Sleep found that people who use screens before bed get less REM sleep, which is the stage of sleep when we dream and our brains process and consolidate memories.


But it's not just the physical effects of screens that can impact sleep. The content we consume on screens can also have negative effects. For example, watching scary or violent movies or TV shows before bed can cause anxiety or fear, making it harder to fall asleep.


The Negative Effects of Screen Time on Overall Health:


Sleep is just one way in which screens can have negative effects on our health. Other research has linked screen time to a variety of health problems, including:

  • Obesity: A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who spend more than two hours a day on screens are more likely to be overweight or obese.

  • Depression and anxiety: A review of studies published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that heavy screen use is associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety in children and adolescents. Heavy social media use in particular has been linked to an increased risk of these mental health problems.

  • Eye strain: Staring at screens for long periods of time can lead to eye strain, dry eyes, and blurred vision.

Tips for Cutting Back on Screens Before Bed:


So, what can you do to reduce the negative effects of screen time at night? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Set a screen time cutoff: Choose a specific time (e.g. 9 PM) after which you'll turn off all screens and start winding down for bed.

  • Use a blue light filter: Many phones and computers have built-in blue light filters that you can turn on at night to reduce the amount of blue light you're exposed to.

  • Read a book: Instead of scrolling through social media or watching TV before bed, try reading a physical book or listening to an audiobook.

  • Get outside: Take a walk or spend some time outside in the evening to help you relax and unwind before bed.

Conclusion:


The negative effects of screen time at night are clear – from disrupting sleep to increasing the risk of health problems. By setting limits on screen time and finding other ways to relax and unwind before bed, you can improve your sleep and overall health.



Sources:

The Negative Effects of Screen Time on Sleep" section:

The Negative Effects of Screen Time on Overall Health" section:

JAMA Pediatrics: "Associations Between Digital Media Device Use and Sleep Problems in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review" (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2748150)


(Written by AI, edited by humans)

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