How the Alluring Screen Steals Our Sleep
How often do you fall asleep in front of the TV or computer? If you're anything like me, you save broadcasted (or "streamed," forgive my sense of antiquity) entertainment for the very end of the evening when you're too tired to do anything else. A lot of new research claims this is not healthy and interferes with a healthy night's sleep.
Yeah, I wasn't too happy to read about this either as I love my comedy concerts, documentaries, and anime, which I will probably never outgrow. These are my adult equivalents of bed-time-stories. I so want to be entertained before I sleep, that I ignored all of the research which has been presented to me over the last few years. Since I'm no longer a young man, and now a father, well, it's time to go to the next level of adulting; authentic and quality self-care. Booo!
The August issue of the 2018 National Geographic even had a cover-piece on sleep which began with "We'll show you what a healthy night's sleep looks like. And how those blue lights keep us from getting enough" referring to the screens of flat screens,
computers, i-pads, and smart-phones. That alluring blue light affects our hypothalamus (the hormone distribution/creation center of the brain) and limits melatonin production, something essential for a good night's sleep.
The effects my evening ritual was contributing to already present health issues. Having abused my ears for years listening and performing loud music, I assumed that it was responsible for my tinnitus, inspiring me to do more research. Turns out despite having been more responsible with my ears over the years, I need to sleep more soundly. You see, sleep is where our body gets a chance to take a break, regenerate cells, let fluids settle and a number of other things, but in short, it allows our bodies to heal and integrate, particularly when it comes to any sort of inflammation.
Tinnitus ("itis" translates to inflammation) means that anything tampering with my sleep, is going to affect my ears. Julian Cowan Hill, a renown craniosacral therapist with a speciality in tinnitus, has made it clear that high stimulus in the evening will exacerbate these symptoms. And while craniosacral therapy is a great support for this and other inflammatory issues, it takes the responsibility of the client to engage in the self-care required for healthy results to last, as one should do in any therapy.
I use tinnitus only as an example of an inflammatory condition, but this would generally apply to anything chronic and inflammatory one might deal with in his or her life (arthritis, colitis, etc). It's also fair to say that this doesn't just apply to inflammatory conditions, this is for general health.
Well, and this isn't something a bodyworker hoping to maintain a thriving practice should be admitting to potential clients, it looks like I have to be just as good a client as I am a practitioner. For me, that means maintaining a habit of 15 minutes of meditation before bed if I've been staring at the computer. For those of you that don't meditate and also enjoy your nightly TV, give your eyes and mind a break before bed doing something, preferably in the dark, that doesn't require too much mental stimulus or tamper with your vision. Perhaps that's a bath or shower, a short walk outside, or the contemplation of something that doesn't trigger you.
I'm not saying this is by any means an easy habit to break, but is the last thing we need to see before we shut our eyes to sleep a lit up screen every night? Perhaps if we could all make a habit of going to sleep settled, we can be more settled for the world around us, which positively affects everyone we interact with and dare I say, make the world just a little bit better.