Sleep better by ditching your phone before bed, World Sleep Day challenge 2017

File image.
File image.

It turns out, more than half of surveyed people who were glued to their screens late into the evening - late night workers, web surfers, movie watchers or online gamers - reported more than two sleep problems.

The short-wavelength blue light from screens blocks the natural sleep hormone melatonin, which is produced by our brains to help us go to sleep and sleep well through the night. 

“We believe that this association between before-bed screen time and having sleep problems is no co-incidence”, Australasian Sleep Association President Dr Maree Barnes said.

It’s why sleep specialists are challenging Australians to enjoy one good night’s sleep to mark World Sleep Day on Friday, March 17.

The challenge: Turn off your TV, computer, tablet or smart phone at least one hour earlier than you normally would and consider going to bed.

Research shows adults should have 7-8 hours of sleep each night but studies indicate that a third of the population routinely fail to get enough.

Recent Sleep Health Foundation research found that 44 per cent of Australian adults are on the internet just before bed almost every night.

“That’s a concerning number of people delaying bedtime with devices that actually make good sleep harder to attain.” Sleep Health Foundation Chair and Sleep Psychologist, Professor Dorothy Bruck said.

"If you are looking at a screen just before going to bed, you are sabotaging your sleep."

“Night time screen use has also been shown to shift the body clock, making you more likely to rise in the morning feeling groggy and unrefreshed,” she said.

“That’s bad news for those wanting to wake up bright and alert for a busy day.”

The two specialists say it is best to count back from when you need to get up, to work out when they need to go to bed to get the 7-8 hours of sleep that they need.

“Make sure you’re leaving yourself enough time to have that golden 7-8 hours of shut-eye,” Professor Bruck said.

“If it doesn’t add up, bring your bedtime forward. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.”

This story Could you go without your phone if it meant getting a good night’s sleep? first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.