Sleep Tip Three: Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed, including TV, computer, smartphone and tablets.
Honestly, of all the tips to get a better night’s sleep, this is the most challenging for me. Yet often the hardest habits to break yield the greatest results. There is clear evidence that A) not only are screens disruptive to our biological sleep patterns, but B) they stimulate brain activity, which interferes with our ability to notice when we’re actually tired (see tip 2).
When we get busy on the computer in the evening, we don’t experience the winding down after sunset which we WOULD feel in a natural environment. In The New Yorker, Maria Konnikova writes that after a week long camping trip…“Not only did the time outside, in the absence of artificial light and alarm clocks, make it easier for people to fall asleep, it made it easier for them to wake up”.
With too much mental stimulation in the evening, the brain gets “fired up.” In addition, once in bed, make the room as DARK as possible, covering up any lights, especially those from a clock or phone. For those of you with kids, read this interesting post by a mother of five who doesn’t use night lights, because they are shown to interfere with deep sleep.
The importance of sleep cannot be over emphasized, especially when recovering from surgery. With all that your body is doing to try to get back to better, turning off screens is one small thing you can control to help it focus on what is important to your healing. So remember - turn it all off way before you want to go to sleep. Give your brain the wind down time it needs and deserves.