Plot Twist: You Can Doomscroll Without Tarnishing Your Sleep. Here's How

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We can all relate to scrolling through social media right before bed or falling asleep with the TV still playing our favorite show. While scrolling and watching, you're thinking about how to stop to get a good night's sleep. It's been suggested you should cease screen time about two hours before you go to sleep to feel well-rested the next day. We've always heard that the light from our phones disrupts our internal clock, causing us to lose sleep, wake up throughout the night, and be more tired in the morning. Regardless of the advice we hear, we still find ourselves doomscrolling until we know it's time to go to sleep.


The time between eating dinner and going to sleep is often filled by using a variety of electronic devices. Instead of winding down with a book, a board game, or meditating, most folks turn to their phones, tablets, television, and video games. However, there's been new research brought to light that claims we can doomscroll right before the moment we fall asleep and still get a full night's rest. Here are a few things you can do that allows you to doomscroll without tarnishing your sleep.

Get plenty of daylight

We get told we shouldn't be using our phones before going to sleep because it affects our circadian rhythm, our 24-hour internal clock that knows when to wake up and go to sleep. For our body to know the time, it produces two hormones, cortisol and melatonin, at specific times in the day. Cortisol is made in the morning right before you wake up; it prepares your body to wake up and become more alert. Your cortisol is higher in the morning and fades throughout the day, soon replaced by melatonin, which prepares you for sleep. When your body releases melatonin, you start to feel tired, and when you're actively on your phone in the evening, the blue light emitted from the screen delays melatonin production. However, you could also get melatonin through natural sources.


The best way to get your body used to the blue light at night is to charge it during the day by going outside and getting plenty of sunlight. The sun emits blue light naturally, so soaking up the rays allows your body to absorb blue light easier at night without disrupting your sleep. In addition, your body can desensitize itself better to blue light at night when it gets it during the day, rather than if you were in a dim room most of the time.

Increase light usage during dinnertime

If you have a terrible habit of using your phone at night, get your body used to high light levels a few hours before bed by turning on the lights around your home. Increasing light around dinnertime can prevent negative effects from screen time use before bed. For example, you can turn on brighter lights in the kitchen when you're cooking or cleaning up. By continuously exposing your body to bright light in the evening, your melatonin production will slow down and prepare itself for when your surroundings will be darker. Also, it helps when you haven't been outside for a long time during the day, so you're tricking your body into thinking it's still daytime, even as the sun is going down.


In addition, a few hours before bed or as you're getting ready for bed, use dimmer lighting in the bathroom, hallways, and bedrooms to prepare your body for low exposure. Various lightbulb brands have smart lights where you can change the color of the lightbulbs with a remote so that you don't have to change them physically. Using red, yellow, or orange lightbulbs in your room can also help maintain the melatonin in your body.

Use blue light glasses

Preparing your body for electronic exposure before bed might not be enough to prevent disrupting your sleep cycle. Your phone, tablet, and television still emit blue light that slows down melatonin production in your brain, making it harder for you to fall asleep. If you want to use your electronics before bed, invest in orange, red, or amber-tinted glasses to wear while you're on your phone. They'll help block out the blue light, whereas clear lenses won't. You can find them on Amazon for an affordable price. They don't have to be an expensive pair as long as they work.


By using yellow, red, or orange-tinted glasses, your body will continue producing melatonin even when scrolling on your phone. Wear the glasses only at night instead of all day to prevent tricking your body into thinking it's the evening at all hours of the day. You want to keep a strict contrast between day and night. If you don't want to buy blue light glasses, most electronic brands, such as Apple and Samsung, have the night mode feature that changes your screen to a yellow tone, making the images lighter on your eyes.

Watch relaxing shows

It's easy to get into a TV show or movie and fall asleep without feeling it. However, it's vital to note that you should be conscious of the things you decide to watch before bed. Even though you might be asleep, your subconscious can still hear what's playing on the TV or your phone. So, if you fall asleep watching something scary, odds are you will have nightmares, which will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and mess up your sleep schedule. On the other hand, if you watch something softer or heartwarming, you're likely to sleep through it without negative effects.


Of course, shows and movies affect everyone differently, so you might be able to fall sound asleep to a horror film, while someone who gets spooked easily won't. You have to find what works for you and try to watch something that will relax you. Avoid using multiple devices simultaneously to prevent over-flooding your eyes with different brightness levels. For example, if you're watching TV and scrolling on your phone, your eyes are forced to adjust to different light levels and screen sizes. Try to look at one screen before bed, so you don't overwork your eyes.

Use smaller screens before bed

Use smaller screens if you can't break your doomscrolling habit at night. The larger the screen size, the more blue light it emits, causing you to stay awake. Using smaller screens, like your phone, will help minimize the amount of blue light you get as opposed to a tablet or computer. In addition, you can decide how much blue light you want to expose to yourself in the dark. When you hold your phone or device closer to your face, your eyes absorb more light, but when your device is farther away, there's less retina exposure. Most devices also can change their brightness levels so that you can set them lower. Or, turn on the night mode so that it changes the blue light to yellow, and it won't be harsh on your eyes.


On the other hand, televisions could be an exception to the small screen rule. Since they're usually placed opposite the bed in a room, they're farther away from your eyes. Having a buffer between you and the TV won't expose too much light directly to your retina. Plus, some TVs have night mode and adjust the brightness and tone to make everything appear warmer.