Whether it’s a computer monitor, watching television, or looking at your tablets and smartphones, almost everyone is in front of a screen for part of the day. However, many do not realize the physiological and psychological ways screen time can affect your sleep. Check out these tips from Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, about limiting screen time. 

How Does Screen Time Affect Sleep?

About 90 percent of people in the U.S. admit to using a technological device during the hour before sleeping. All screens emit blue light, which can increase alertness and suppress melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. The more you use electronic devices in the evening, the harder it is to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

What Are Some Other Effects of Prolonged Screen Time?

Excessive screen time can lead to higher levels of sedentary behavior, which is associated with an increase in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Other effects of screen time include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Decrease in socialization
  • Negative effects on mental health

How Can We Combat the Negative Effects?

Some ways we can combat the negative effects of screen time are:

  • Filter blue light on smartphones, tablets or laptops
  • Consider eyeglasses that offer blue light protection
  • Set time limits on your devices
  • Avoid using devices while spending time with friends or family
  • Substitute electronics for reading
  • Turn off all screens before bed, the earlier the better

As always, talk with your primary care doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping.

Rose Melendez, RN

Rose Melendez, RN

Head of Emergency Department

Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.

Need help finding a doctor? Adventist Medical Group offers Primary and Specialty Care at over 10 locations.