How do you spend your last hour before bed? Is it in a hot bath, reading a book writing in a journal, chilling out? Or is it down the rabbit hole of Instagram, a last quick look at Facebook, checking emails or watching a film on Netflix?
If so you are not alone, the rise of having our smartphones and other devices in our bedrooms means we no longer fit in those lovely relaxing bedtime rituals of days gone by. Now we think of them as a luxury, a nice to have, and we are just too busy to make the time for them.
But are we too busy or is it just that we are filling time which has become a habit? Scrolling relentlessly through our phones. It’s not just that we need time to relax, switching off from technology is essential for a good night’s sleep. The blue light that is emitted from phones, laptops and tablets disrupts our circadian rhythm which is what we rely on to regulate our sleep pattern and ultimately give us a good night’s sleep. Being online fires our brains up so we are up and running, not wound down ready for sleep. One in four of us spends more time online than asleep!
So, would a digital detox before bed help us sleep better and make us healthier? Yes!
10 Reasons Why You Should Think About a Digital Curfew.
1.Better sleep routine
The blue light that is emitted from phones, laptops and tablets disrupts our circadian rhythm which is what we rely on to regulate our sleep pattern and ultimately give us a good night’s sleep. Browsing our phones wakes the brain rather than making it sleepy.
2.Time for wellbeing
Switching off from digital means you have time for you. To have that bath, read that book, make time to fuel your wellbeing.
If you answer that email or even just scroll through Instagram or Facebook, your body is having an emotional response to something and when that happened you start the fight or flight mode in your brain this releases cortisol the stress hormone, which wakes you up.
When your levels of cortisol – the stress hormone are raised it can lead to an increase in appetite, so whilst the jury is out on whether too much cortisol can cause weight gain, it certainly will not help if you are online late at night which can lead to that late-night snack.
5.Reduce health risks
When we sleep our bodies relax, our mind switches off and our blood pressure lowers and our body repairs.
6.Better time with your partner
Having a curfew works well if you both commit to it. No longer will you be told to put your phone away, you’ll be more present and be able to make more time for the people that matter, have time with your partner, you can make your own memories!
If you are not spending your extra hour indulging in your wellbeing you could do some essential house tasks that you have been putting off. You’ll be more productive and get ahead!
8. A Heathy Mind
Switching off is vital for your mental health, no FOMO and the old Instagrammable lifestyle envy. More sleep puts you in a positive frame of mind. A lack of sleep makes us less sociable (the irony as we scroll through other people’s social lives!) and less inclined to go out and do things.
9. Improved Productivity and Concentration
It’s so easy to think you are more productive at night, catching up on emails, finishing a work project, but by the end of the day our brains are overwhelmed and can’t concentrate properly. The mind needs time to switch off. If we have a deadline to work to we will do it. If you never have a curfew you never have a deadline to work to. Switching off switches off your brain.
10. Tomorrow will be better
Generally, we have a fixed time to wake up. However, bedtime is moveable. If you stay up consistently late then your body clock will readjust. The more consistently you stay up late, the more your body clock moves forward and makes waking more difficult. A curfew will focus your mind on bedtime.
So, think about the digital curfew as something to look forward to. Don’t think of it as a negative. Maybe rename it ‘Luxury Evening.’ Think of it as a ritual maybe, a detox, an indulgence to enjoy. The start of your ‘Me’ time which you can use for wellbeing; which so often gets overlooked and only thought about when it is too late or gets classed as a luxury when ultimately it is essential for your health.
Are you up for the challenge? Could you try a digital curfew for a week and see if it improves your sleep, health and relationships? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
Here are our Top Tips for Planning a Digital Curfew
By Dina Maktabi founder of Kensington Mums