Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo isn’t usually a fan of phones in the bedroom – but she does make an exception, if you do it right. Here, she lays out three ways to use your phone to improve the quality of your nightly zzzzzs.
Sleep: it’s free. And we all want more of it, so why is it so hard to get? Specifically – that consistent, restorative, uninterrupted, eight-hours-a-night kinda sleep. Which is why we’ve enlisted Sydney-based sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo to solve our myriad of sleep concerns with our Sleep Well Wednesdays series. Check back every fortnight and you’ll be off to the land of nod before you know it.
Confession: I’ve vilified phones in the past, and have a strong ‘no technology’ policy in the bedroom if you want to get your best night’s sleep.
It’s a reasonable argument, because using your phone in the last hour before bed makes you 48 per cent more likely to take over an hour to fall asleep, and 35 per cent more likely to lose over two hours of sleep. Also, we are 62 per cent more likely to report sleep disturbances if we use our phones in the hour before bed.
I’m well aware that, unfortunately, the allure of an Instagram scroll still often ropes us in- so I’m going to try a different approach. Rather than try and disconnect you from tech, here are three ways your phone can actually help – not hinder – your better sleep goals.
Track your sleep
Tracking your metrics makes you more aware, conscious and cognizant of your sleep – which is ultimately a good thing. Apps such as SleepSpace grant space for a manual diary entry of your sleep each night, as well as data from actual sleep tracking apps, so you can record your subjective and objective experience of sleep each night.
Over time, you’ll begin to see patterns emerge, which help you decide what is and what is not helpful. Wondering how late you can have caffeine, or how many drinks you can have, without it sabotaging your sleep? The only way you’ll truly know is by tracking it – so do so diligently.
Listen to a meditation before bed
Apple is always on point – so I trust their sleep meditations, a new feature as part of their 2023 Fitness+ update – is on point too. With four different options, they can help you unwind, relax your mind and/or visualise deep sleep – all are important.
Fortunately, for those who like variety, the meditations will be updated each week, so you won’t get bored listening to the same old track.
Share your sleep stats
Often, we forget that phones, at their core, are a communication device. While we can get overwhelmed with who or what to share on socials, apps such as Be a Looper make it super easy for you to share a simple breakdown of how well you’ve slept with a select group. Quite simply, you include 5 people in your loop, and every morning at a specific time, you rate how well you’ve slept (or other metrics of value, such as how refreshed you feel), with them on a scale of 1-10. As a result, you’re more accountable – which helps you stay on track to reach your sleep goals.
See? Phones don’t have to be that bad – it’s all in how we use them.
These tips, as well as the guidelines below, will ensure you can, if you must, use your phone before bed, without it sabotaging your sleep.
- Wear blue light blocking glasses
- Turn the brightness down as much as possible
- Have at least a 30 minute period prior to sleep where you are not on your phone. If this is too much of a stretch, start with 10 minutes and build up
- Avoid looking at your phone for the first hour of waking (get a different alarm clock!)
- Turn it into airplane mode to reduce EMF exposure