The other day in a restaurant, I saw a mother scold her teen son for fiddling with his phone during dinner.
Ready for the punchline?
While she was lecturing him about table manners, her husband was fiddling away at his own phone!
It seems we’ve come full circle with this stuff, as adults are just as addicted to their tech as the kids.
I’m not here to lecture you over when and where to use your phone. Lay off the thing while you’re behind the wheel, and we’ll get along just fine.
But there’s one other time when you might want to keep your fingers busy by fiddling with something else — and that’s before bed, as new research shows how high tech can be bad news for sleep habits.
Those screens emit light that’s heavy in the blue end of the spectrum, which is the form of light your brain uses to recognize daylight.
When it sees all that blue in the evening, it doesn’t realize it’s getting late and doesn’t crank out enough melatonin.
And when it doesn’t crank out enough of the “sleep hormone,” you’ll have a harder time falling asleep, and you’ll get less quality shuteye once you do pass out.
The effect is so powerful that when volunteers in the study wore special glasses to block out all that blue at night, their nighttime melatonin levels jumped by 58 percent.
That’s a bigger bump that you’d get from taking melatonin supplements… but all they did was block out the blue light from those devices.
They also fell asleep faster, slept better, and increased their overall snooze time by 24 minutes.
If a drug had that effect, it would be selling better than iPhones!
But you don’t need a drug. You just need to block out the blue — and there are two easy ways to do just that.
Option #1 is to make like the volunteers in this study.
If you REALLY need your phone or tablet to keep you company at night… if it’s essential to check Facebook, read email, and order off Amazon while you’re in your pajamas… you can get your own set of blue-blocking glasses.
You can either order them online, right there from your bed… or, if you need a prescription pair, your doc can hook you up.
If you ask me, it’s easier — and cheaper — to go with option #2 and just adjust your nighttime rituals. Quit the devices a couple hours before turning in. If you’re looking for a form of media to occupy yourself before bed, turn on NPR and you’ll be fast asleep in 10 minutes or less.