According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, using technology before bed is linked to “difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep”. Avoiding tech before bed – removing it from your room if you can’t avoid the distraction – is a common sleep hygiene tip.
There are two main problems with tech in the bedroom, explains Kathryn Pinkham, an NHS consultant and founder of The Insomnia Clinic – blue light and stimulation. “Blue light is the type of light that’s emitted by tech,” she says.
“Studies have found blue light inhibits the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is naturally developed with darkness and the dimming of light.”
If you can’t imagine not using your device in the evening, it’s worth considering getting a blue light filter, which changes the type of light emitted from your screen so that it doesn’t impact the production of melatonin.
But this won’t combat the other issue with tech: stimulation. “The idea is, if you’re on your phone or your laptop all night you’re not really winding down anyway,” notes Pinkham.
Get enough natural light
Getting a good dose of morning light is, perhaps surprisingly, important in helping us sleep better at night, says Taylor. “Exposure to natural light (even on a cloudy day) stimulates our body and mind and encourages feelings of alertness and energy,” she explains.
“When the environment transitions from darkness to light, our internal clock tells us it is time to wake up, whether we have had our regular sleep or not.”
And, just as light is important during the day, darkness is essential for sleep at night, in order to boost production of that all-important sleep hormone: melatonin.
If your curtains are letting the light seep into your room early in the morning, or you’re trying to get to sleep in a room that never really gets dark, you might want to try and combat that – which is why Taylor recommends the use of blackout blinds or eye masks.