Screen time

Too much screen time – how does it affect your sleep?

Zintle Nkohla - 16.07.2021

Too much screen time can be really bad for your sleep hygiene. Read more to find out why.

Too much screen time can be really bad for your sleep hygiene, especially at night because the blue light from your devices blocks your body from producing melatonin, a hormone responsible for making you want to fall asleep.

How does too much screen time affect your sleep?

Harvard Health Publishing describes blue light as blue wavelengths which are beneficial during daylight hours as they boost attention, reaction times, and mood. However, blue light is very disruptive at night, and exposure to electronics heightens blue wavelengths.

According to Web MD, being exposed more than 7 hours a day to blue light can pose threats to your sleep, such as developing insomnia.

Although the light you see from your devices is white, the height in its wavelengths makes it blue light, and it messes with your sleep cycle. It signals your brain to wake up when it should be winding down. As little as 2 hours of exposure to blue light at night can slow or stop the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Known sources of blue light include:

  • Televisions
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Gaming systems
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs
  • Computer monitors

How to manage less blue light exposure?

Using deem lights like red light might help because it has less power to shift your sleep cycle and suppress melatonin release.

Avoid using your devices two to three hours before bedtime — not to mention taking them to bed with. Rather put them away on the table. And if you really have to stay up working, at least wear blue-light-blocking glasses or download an app that filters blue wavelength at night.

Get out of the house to get exposed to natural light during the day. It actually helps you sleep better at night — pushes the release of melatonin when it is time for you to sleep.