Mistakes We Make With Sleep And Technology

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Mistakes We Make With Sleep And Technology

In today’s world our lives revolve around technology. We depend on technology for many things, and we sometimes do not even realize when it is negatively affecting us. One of the biggest pitfalls those with insomnia and sleep issues face is their inclination to turn to technology while trying to sleep. Three of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to sleep are:

1. Checking the time.

Have you ever noticed that every time you wake up in the middle of the night it was around the same time? Believe it or not, when you check the time in the middle of the night you are actually training yourself to wake up at that exact time.

While many people have perfectly logical reasons for checking the time at night, like: “I want to make sure I don’t sleep through my alarm” or “I want to see how many hours I have left before I have to get up and start my day”, the reality is you’re doing more harm than good.

Instead, set an alarm and face the clock away from you. I know it is scary because you need to make sure you don’t oversleep, but the reason you are waking up each night is because you are trained to do so. To break the habit you have to stop looking at the clock and set a backup alarm just in case.

After 2-3 weeks this habit will be broken and you will stop waking up at the same time each night.

2. Using the phone before bed and in the middle of the night.

It is as boring as it is frustrating to not be able to sleep. Lying in bed and staring at the wall can be aggravating, but try to resist the urge to text or surf on your phone.

When you check your phone you stimulate your brain, causing it to work. The goal is to get your brain to a resting point in which you can fall (back) asleep. In order to do that you need to refrain from web surfing when you should be sleeping.

Try focusing on your breathing or meditating when trying to fall asleep instead. You do not need to leave your bed to do this and it is a simple enough task to focus on without causing your brain to work too hard.

3. Watching TV or listening to music with lyrics when falling asleep.

Many of us enjoy listening to a television program or music as we fall asleep, but the dialog in music and television causes the brain to engage in the content.

While you may fall asleep, there will still be a part of your brain that is tapped into the dialog it is hearing. In fact, many of us have actually experienced dreams with dialog from the television actively playing in their minds. This means your brain is still tapped in to a level of consciousness, which affects the sleep cycle.

While having no noise in your sleeping environment is ideal, you can also replace the television or lyrical songs with instrumental music or natural soundtracks, which are soothing and do not cause the brain to stay partially engaged with what it hears.

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