Peoples Digest Online – When you can’t sleep at night, what’s the first thing you do?
You might read a book, magazine, or watch a film until your eyes feel heavier. However, almost all of us, if we were being honest, would admit the first thing we do is reach for our phone. It’s so easy, and there’s so much to do – whether it’s checking Facebook, Instagram or even emails.
But there’s a scary reason why we need to stop this habit.
Speaking to Business Insider, Dr Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, explains why staring at our screens right before we sleep could be harmful.
He explains: “People are exposing their eyes to this stream of photons… that basically tells your brain to stay awake and not go to sleep yet. “You’re checking your email, you’re looking for texts… It tells your brain don’t secrete melatonin yet, it’s not time for sleep.”
So basically when it’s time for us to go to sleep, our brains naturally secrete melatonin, which allows us to switch off.
However checking your phone and other digital devices prevents this from happening.
Dr Siegel adds: “If you don’t get seven to nine hours of sleep, you just get five, the toxins remain there for over 95 per cent of people.
“It makes your attention falter, your memory is impaired, your ability to think through problems is challenged, your insulin that helps regulate your metabolism is turned upside down so you’re more likely to gain weight from what you eat… and it’s actually toxic.” He advises switching off screens at around nine, and actively deciding not to check screens at night to avoid this issue.