Are you a Fan of Staying up Late & Scrolling through your ‘Social Media’ Posts?
We can all fall victim to having a bad night’s sleep whilst scrolling through our social media activity! Put your hands up if you feel moody and groggy in the morning? That’s because sleep is vital for your wellbeing (Mental Health Foundation). We all have the odd bad night here and there, but a consistent lack of sleep can start to take a toll on your mental health and concentration. So, it’s best to nip it in the bud as early as possible to keep you functioning at your very best.
Perhaps we are using our devices too much and as a consequence clocking up our screen time hours. Studies have shown that people who spend a long time on their devices during the day and keep their phones by their bed at night get a poorer quality of sleep each night (NCBI). But why does screen time affect our ability to rest in this way you may ask? Well, there’s a number of contributing factors.
In some cases, relaxing activities like reading in bed can be healthy and help you chill and unwind. But, if you find yourself reaching for your device, you might find yourself scrolling for a lot longer than you intended to.
Social media apps are designed to be addictive and they are successful in achieving this. Although you might only intend to be on them for a few minutes, you may not notice how much time you’ve spent scrolling until the early hours of the morning, and what about that 9 am lecture in the morning? This can lead to a later bedtime and shorter sleep duration — called sleep displacement — which can impact your mental health and general focus Blue light
Your body has no internal clock, and can’t naturally keep track of time on its own. So, it uses blue light from the sun to regulate itself — called your circadian rhythm. At night, when the sun goes down, your body knows that the lack of blue light means it’s time to sleep – (This originates from our primitive ancestors).
If you’re a fan of a late-night Netflix binge (And there’s nothing wrong with that) In fact, have you watched Queen of the South? Joking aside, you could be doing more harm than good to your sleep health. While it’s tempting to just watch one more episode, the blue light emitted from your screens can make your brain is triggered in thinking it’s day time. If you’re getting exposure to blue light from your devices well into the night, your body won’t be prepared for sleep and you’ll find it much harder to drift off.
The term ‘nocturnal awakening,’ refers to any time you wake up during the night, and it’s especially common among people who use their phone until late at night. If you keep your phone next to your bed as you sleep, you might find that your brain isn’t able to fully switch off. Notifications can wake you up through the night, and your mind might be more tuned into your devices waiting for the next one, meaning you’ll be restless as you sleep.
How to boost your sleep health!
Luckily, there’s no need to worry too much, because a lack of sleep can be fixed quite easily. With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can improve your sleep health and boost your wellbeing. Avoiding your devices before bed can really benefit you, and there are a few other steps that might be worth considering to help you get a bit more shut-eye.
Avoid devices at least an hour before bed
Although your assignments and Zoom lectures at The University of Plymouth, means you might not be able to reduce your screen time during the day, you can still benefit from lowering your usage at night. Try to turn off your devices and put them away at least an hour before bed, but ensure you’ve answered any private messages beforehand, maybe put out a status ‘Do not Disturb’ (Only joking)!
To stop the group chat from keeping you up through the night, you might want to turn your phone off or put it on do not disturb or kill the notifications. This will stop your phone from vibrating even when it’s on silent, and it’ll stop the screen from lighting up and disturbing your sleep.
Manage your stress!
Student lifestyle can come with many stressful factors that might stop you from sleeping each night, so it’s important to manage your stress before it causes any problems. Meditation can help you relax if things get overwhelming, and making time to unwind and have fun each day can help to keep anxiety at bay, so you can fall asleep more quickly. There are many ‘free apps’ you can use too!
Use your bed for sleeping!
Although you might be tempted to complete your assignments and virtual lectures under the comfort of your duvet, this will make your mind think that it needs to be active while you’re in bed, and you’ll find it harder to fall asleep. So, you’ll need to create a boundary by only using your bed for sleep, and using your desk for work and other activities. This will train your brain to learn that your bed is a place for relaxing, and you’ll find it easier to drop off. At The University of Plymouth, they have comfortable double beds in all of their properties, a work station/ desk & chair & ample plug sockets. There’s always a good signal with their 350 mgps Virgin Media Broadband
Create a sleep-friendly bedroom
Create a nice relaxing environment in your student accommodation, this can also affect how you sleep. To stop you from overheating or being too cold, the Sleep Council recommends you keep your bedroom at around 16–18°C. You should also try your best to block out any light or noise distractions that might keep you awake. Try wearing a sleep mask. If noise is a problem, earplugs are a good option!
Good Luck, we hope this helps!
Enjoy your sleep! Zzzzzzzzz!