4 Reasons We Reach for Screens When Insomnia Strikes


Whether it’s the occasional night of sleep troubles or you suffer from regular insomnia, there’s one thing most Americans have in common: They reach for a screen to entertain themselves. This is the worst thing you can do when battling sleeplessness since looking at a screen automatically stimulates you. It’s going to keep you awake longer, when what you should be doing is working towards improved relaxation.

There’s some technology which can greatly help sleep woes, such as a quality CPAP machine for sleep apnea issues. Pink noise machines and sleep apps are also handy. However, the vast majority of technology at your fingertips is making your sleep problems worse. Here are some of the biggest offenders and why:

1. Smartphones

They’re low hanging fruit since they’re often at your bedside table and a simple swipe shows you how many Facebook notifications you have or emails. Even if you just use your smartphone for checking out your favorite news apps, this is a mistake. If you really want to read, pick up an actual book and use soft but adequate lighting. It doesn’t offer the same over-stimulation as reading from a screen.

2. TVs for vegging out

Who hasn’t been hooked into a middle of the night infomercial? This is the classic go-to entertainment option for insomniacs, but it’s not doing you any favors. Not only is it too stimulating, the artificial light stops the production of melatonin, which will making falling asleep even more difficult. Plus, if you do drift off in front of the TV, it will be poor quality sleep at best.

3. TVs or computers for gaming

Gaming is even worse than watching TV or reading on a screen since it’s a very active choice. Now you’re physically involved in the stimulation and very few people fall asleep while gaming. If you’re in the mood for some brain stimulation besides ready, try your hand at Sudoku or another game that doesn’t require a screen.

4. Tablets, all in one computers and laptops

Whether you decide to do a little online shopping in the middle of the night or check out some Reddit threads, this is almost as bad as gaming. It’s easy to get sucked in for hours, and few people fall asleep while in the middle of this activity.

If you suffer from regular sleepless nights, talk with your doctor or sleep specialist. There might be underlying issues to resolve.