Ask Family Doctors: Smartphones and Sleep

Ask Family Doctors: Smartphones and Sleep

Ask Family Doctors: Smartphones and Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of life. It’s right up there on the list of basic human needs, and it takes its place proudly next to food and water. However, despite this, we still somehow take sleep for granted. You don’t really think about sleep until you need more of it, or you didn’t get enough of it–and that’s a problem. The key to doing anything well is knowing how to do it properly, but that can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to sleeping. It’s not just about memory foam mattresses and self-cooling pillows, either. We all know that getting good sleep requires good sleep habits–but in today’s world, those sleep habits are evolving to encompass things like smartphone use.


Smartphones have changed our lives; there’s no doubt about that. We can communicate quickly and easily; we can use the Internet from anywhere; we can even take endless “selfies.” (Okay–maybe that one isn’t quite so important.) Still, despite all of the good things smartphones have done for us, these little devices are also constantly under fire for doing not so good things for us. We’ve all heard what experts have to say about the ways smartphones and other devices are changing our lives for the worse, and it starts as early as childhood. Babies riding in carts cling to their parents’ smartphones. Kids memorize texting lingo faster than vocabulary words. Teens become addicted to apps and games. But smartphones are changing more than just the way we grow up, communicate, and think–they’re also changing the way we sleep, and opens in a new windowexpert Family Doctors are getting concerned.


We know how important sleep is to health, success, and life. What do Family Doctors suggest on smartphones and sleep?

  • Set the rules. It’s important to determine the rules on smartphones–and other devices, for that matter–before bed. When do the screens go off? This should be an hour or more from bedtime in order to keep sleep routines on point. Make this a household rule; you might even find you want to follow it yourself.
  • Phone settings. Sometimes, it’s impossible to leave the smartphone outside of the bedroom–we all rely on some setting, alarm, or notepad app. Use “silence” and “do not disturb” settings to minimize the interrupts that a smartphone near your bed can cause, and make sure everyone in your home does the same.
  • Get sleepy. Many of us use technology to help calm our minds and prepare for sleep. Instead of grabbing your phone, try picking up a good book (or maybe a boring book, if you’re a stay-up-till-midnight-reading sort of person). Remember that exercise during the day makes you sleep better, and avoid caffeine past noon.

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