Phone Free Zone - The Best Sleep of Your Life - July 2016
One in three Australians suffer from such extreme sleep deprivation that their lives are in constant turmoil, according to The Age.com.au. American sleep researcher William C. Dement declared in his book, The Promise of Sleep, that we are a "sleep-sick society". In Australia 70% of all visits to the doctor involve some underlying sleep disorder which costs the country $10 Billion annually.
The most important thing you can do to promote better sleep? Get the phone out of the bedroom, advises Ellen Vora, M.D., a holistic psychiatrist at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC. She has developed a course called the The Doctor's Guide to Falling Asleep Naturally + Getting the Best Rest of Your Life. Her advice is relevant and useful to us all, even if we think we sleep okay.
Vora anticipates most of us will resist this advice just knowing how addictive our phones are. She states, "Set up your charger outside the bedroom, kiss your phone good-night at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and make your bedroom a no-phone zone. Once you've done it, you'll sleep better and feel better, and you'll never look back. Do this tonight."
Despite the lame excuses we can all come up with that are just 'so important' for why we should keep our phones in the bedroom there is no really good reason, even if you are on 24 hour call to national security. Leave your phone outside of the bedroom but still with in ear shot. Have a favourites setting for critical calls then set to do-not-disturb, Vora advises. Even better, if you use your phone as your alarm clock, when it is outside your room and goes off you will have to get up. Once up, it's easier to go exercise like you plan but rarely do these cold winter mornings.
Need more convincing phones are bad for sleep? The blue-spectrum light from phone screens confuses the brain into thinking it is daytime even at midnight. Facebook, Instagram, games and other sites are highly addictive. Vora describes them like a "shot of espresso at bedtime". Phones can be fun, sure, but they are also a source of stress. Constant notifications even if unimportant are perceived by our bodies as stressors. At night this is highly disruptive. You might think you're sleeping through these, but it could well be keeping you from dropping into deep REM sleep.
If you're reading this on your phone in the bedroom right now, STOP! Remove the phone and make your bedroom a phone free sleep sanctuary from this day forward. Sweet Dreams (sorry this article won't solve your partner snoring in your ear)!