Awhile ago I noticed my sleep patterns were pretty messed up and decided to try and unplug long before bedtime -- no more late night computer for me. I thought my wide-awake brain zipping around was from all of the excitement of lurid news stories, annoying Facebook updates, and irate reader comments. But apparently the big sleep disruption culprit is the light on a computer, handheld, phone, etc. Just a two-hour exposure to a backlit screen can deplete your melatonin (that stuff that makes you sleep) by 22 percent. So what can we do to power down before bed?
If you want to relax before bedtime, apparently watching TV is also out, because that can make you depressed. But could that be because people are watching, say, Hoarders or Teen Mom rather than that Ovation special on poetry or Buddhism?
Of course, you can read a book -- you know, the paper kind. Or since Kindles and Nooks don't have backlighting, those are okay too. You can also purchase filters that will block glare and blue light on your iPad or other device. Or you can dim the light on the computer or iPad.
I've lately gotten into listening to music as I fall asleep -- but nothing with lyrics I might understand because then those might get stuck in my head. So I listen to chanting or music made for yoga or meditation. There's probably a study somewhere that says music before bed is bad for you somehow, so I'm not even gonna look. And don't point one out to me!
But did you hear? That whole needing eight hours of sleep thing is a big myth anyway. It seems for eons humans actually slept in spurts, waking up throughout the night to do work, eat, or even visit neighbors. And there's evidence that broken sleep patterns help with your stress. Now I'm totally confused.
So this brings us back to the iPad. If using it before bed disrupts your sleep, is that such a bad thing? Are we all sleeping too much anyway? Ugh, I'm totally gonna lose sleep thinking about this.
What do you do before bed?
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