No Screen Time Before Bed

Technology before bedtime: It’s a slippery slope. Before you turn in, you’ve got to send one last text… write one last email… check Facebook one last time.

Three hours later it’s 2 a.m., and you’re watching a chimpanzee ride a Segway on YouTube.

But you’re not alone. A National Sleep Foundation (NSF) poll found that 95% of Americans use technology within the last hour before lights out. This study and others like it reveal that our brains and bodies pay the price for these late-night tech fests.

Time for a technology curfew – it’s essential for a healthy life and family. By establishing a nightly digital wind-down ritual, you’ll benefit in the following ways:

1. You’ll get more sleep…

Using technology before bedtime distracts you from the main event: slumber.

It’s too easy to lose track of time online when you spend hours falling down a Wikipedihole. Introduce more z’s in your life by shutting down technology two hours before bed.

(Not sure how much sleep you need? Check out the handy bedtime calculator.)

2. …And you’ll improve the quality of your sleep.

Screens – found on computers, cellphones and TVs – emit blue light that is found in the light spectrum present during daytime hours.

Acting as artificial sunlight, blue light decreases your production of melatonin, the powerhouse hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. (click to tweet)

Eliminating screen time before sleep time restores your 40 winks to uninterrupted snoozy bliss.

3. You may be able to say “adios” to a few unwanted pounds.

Sleep-deprivation data show a link between lack of sleep and obesity. Possible reasons why sleep-deprived people may be prone to weight gain include:

  • Appetite-controlling hormones are deregulated by lack of sleep.
  • More waking hours mean more time to ingest calories.
  • Exercise is very difficult once lethargy and exhaustion have set in.

So, turning off technology early each night may result in weight loss. That’s the kind of low-impact exercise we like! (click to tweet)

4. You’ll reduce stress, mood swings and depression.

Technology is an amazing tool that allows for convenience and constant connection. However, being connected 24/7 blurs the separation between work life and home life.

Mental wellness thrives on balance, and not honoring your personal time leads to resentment, anxiety and unhappiness. The first step? Grant yourself more “unplugged” me-/family time.

5. Your attention span will thank you kindly.

Experts are still studying how the internet effects our brains, but neuroscientists agree that technology is rerouting our neural pathways.

Translation: Our productivity, organization and critical thinking skills are compromised when we spend too much time distractedly jumping from one site to another. (click to tweet)

6. You’ll get to reconnect with the person you love the most…

Cutting down on technology consumption makes room for quality time with your partner.

Make the most out of these quiet moments and nurture your relationship. Spend one-on-one time with your loved one. Learn, reflect, laugh and listen.

7. …And your family relationships will improve.

Have you been feeling that you live in the house that cranky built?

Late night gaming, chatting and Facebook stalking will do that to a family. Not to mention the wee-hour texts and calls that interrupt your clan’s much needed sleep.

When creating a digital wind-down ritual (i.e., digital-device handover), inject some fun family-bonding time into the nightly routine. The family that plays together stays together!

Digital wind-down ritual tips for you and your family:

  • “Unplug” two hours before bed. This gives your brain a chance to unwind and get ready for sleep.
  • Create a schedule and stick to it. Confusion and arguments will be kept to a minimum once your kids understand that the technology curfew is a nightly event that’s here to stay.
  • Make family fun time a part of the nightly ritual. Idea: Assign a night to each family member and make him or her in charge of choosing the activity.
  • Don’t forget to add some invaluable me-time to the mix. This could include, reading, writing, pampering or meditating.
  • Store all digital devices (e.g., smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) in an area of the house other than the bedrooms.
  • Use an alarm clock rather than your smartphone or tablet as a wakeup device.
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