It’s all too easy to check your phone before you go to bed just to have a one last update on Facebook and Snapchat, or maybe you want to reply to the text you forgot about, and then you’ll just complete another level of Candy Crush, but then you realise you really do need to go to bed, so you just quickly check Facebook again to see if you missed anything juicy and now you’ve been on your phone for two hours and have to get up in fourhours and the next day you’re essentially a coffee fuelled zombie. That might not be only the reason your phone is stopping you from sleeping and/or getting a proper night’s sleep, either. It’s time to put down you phone and get to sleep … well after you read this article, that is.

Smartphone night

Why You Need a Full Night

Sleep is wonderful and I’m sure I don’t need to sell to you the wonders of it. There’s a funny time in every person’s life and it’s around 13 where going to bed becomes the best part of your day and not the worst. But what are the actual benefits of sleep – aside from not being tired anymore – that mean you should actually be sleeping more.

  • Memory – Sleep improves memory and particular the memory associated with learning something new. If you’re struggling to learn a new language or skill, not only will sleep make you brain better and fresher, your brain will carry on learning it whilst you’re asleep. They’ve also been known to solve problems, for example if you’re stuck on a puzzle in a videogame for hours and then go to bed, you will probably solve it instantly the next morning because your subconscious did it for you whilst you slept.
  • Lifespan – Scientists don’t really know why, but there seems to be sweet spot where people who sleep between five hours and six and a half hours will actually live longer than those people who have less or more. However other scientists will argue you should have between six and eight. This might have a correlation with stress. Proper sleep drastically reduces stress levels and the likelihood of depression.
  • Better at Sports – Scientists at Stanford discovered that athletes who slept for ten hours a night where better at sprinting and had less fatigue and more stamina, but I think this is only for people who do a lot of exercise and not for normal people who spend six hours on the sofa in between sleeping. The same works for intelligence, with children and teenagers who had long restful nights of sleep did better at school (your phone is stopping you having restful sleep, but more on that in a bit).
  • Weight Loss – There appears to be a direct correlation between sleep, dieting, and weight loss. People who are on a diet and slept healthily lost a lot more fat, whereas dieters who didn’t sleep poorly lost a lot more muscle loss.

Why Your Phone is Stopping You

Here comes the biochemistry, because not only is the phone distracting us from sleep with its lure of a thousand apps like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, YouTube, assorted bingo games, Pokémon games, a hundred King games, emails, news apps, quiz apps, shopping apps … you can see why I’m not getting much sleep … but we have a hormone in our bodies called melatonin which tells out body when it’s night-time and then makes us fall asleep and have peaceful dreams about flying and going to work naked, before waking us up feeling relaxed and ready for another day at the office. Only this isn’t happening anymore because we are constantly on our phones before bed. The reason our phones are stop us getting to sleep and having peaceful dreams and waking up rested is because the blue and white light from tablets and phones stops melatonin being released. A writer for Business Insider actually tried not looking at their phone from the moment they left work till they woke up the next day and you can read what happened. If you can make this small change to your routine, you might find yourself happier and healthier.

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