Will Less Quality Time With Your Computer Help You Sleep Better?

28 Jan

I spend eight hours a day sitting at my desk, staring at a computer screen. At the end of the workday, I go home, go to the gym, then eventually end up sitting on the couch, browsing the Internet on my laptop until bedtime. I’ve never found having this much computer time to be an issue, until I read an article saying that using electronics within an hour before bedtime can keep you awake at night. Coincidentally I’m always trying to figure out how to sleep better, and often find myself lying in bed awake way past my bedtime, simply because I just can’t fall asleep.

I’ve been thinking about limiting my computer time before bed for awhile now, but of course I never got around to it, because I’m too “busy” doing nothing on the Internet. Spending too much time on the computer would be more acceptable if I was doing homework or work I was getting paid to do, but that’s not the case. I’m more likely to be found doing something completely weird and pointless like looking for mansions in Southern California, searching for flights out of Pittsburgh to well, anywhere, or looking for Groupon deals in cool cities that I do not live in.

This week I finally decided to buckle down and see if limiting my computer time before bed would help me to sleep better. Here’s how it went:

Day One (Sunday):

I’ve been trying to figure out how to sleep better on Sunday nights forever. Since I get up later than I do on weekdays and typically don’t exert a whole lot of energy during the day, I always find myself having trouble sleeping on Sunday evenings. So I decided to limit my computer time tonight, which will hopefully help me to sleep better… Despite my good intentions, I actually ended up sitting on the couch, staring at my computer screen until it was time to go to bed. Epic fail.

Day Two (Monday):

Today I was exhausted because I couldn’t fall asleep last night, since I was busy driving down the streets of Skid Row on Google Maps (I’ve always had a weirdo fascination with the ghetto, don’t ask) right up until it was time to go to bed. While there is no intelligent explanation for this one, it did motivate me to limit my computer time tonight. And I did just that. I turned my computer off around 9pm, lay down on the couch and watched television with my boyfriend.

Day Three (Tuesday):

I woke up feeling great today! It’s amazing how much better the alarm clock sounds when you’re not completely exhausted. I was so well rested that I didn’t even need coffee to keep me awake at work this afternoon! I had a super busy evening, which meant I got home later, but still managed to force myself to turn my computer off an hour before bed. Instead of watching The Bachelor over the glare of my laptop, I lay down on the couch and just watched it. I must admit, it was way more relaxing. I actually noticed that I was more relaxed when I headed upstairs to bed, which helped me to fall asleep easily.

Grant yourself sweet dreams by putting your computer to bed early.

Day Four (Wednesday)

Again, I woke up feeling great today after another good night’s sleep! Personally, I’d say I was much more pleasant this morning (pre-coffee) than usual. I’ll admit I did milk the coffee cow this afternoon, but only because my dad bought it for me, translation = it was free. (My boyfriend calls me “El Cheapo” and says my motto is “If it’s free, it’s for me!”) Anyways, I ended up having a pretty busy night tonight, and didn’t get the chance to cuddle up with my laptop until about 9pm, meaning I was not able to pry it out of my paws a full hour before I headed off to bed. Read: My inability to get off the computer was due to the pressing matter of needing to randomly check Southwest flight prices to anywhere out of Pittsburgh between February and September. I shut my computer off 30 minutes before bedtime, so that counts for something, right? I still fell asleep decently quickly, but didn’t feel as relaxed as the previous two nights.

Day Five (Thursday)

Ugh, I’m so tired today! It probably doesn’t help that it’s been dark and rainy outside all day today, but still, I have myself to blame for this one. I was so tired that I took a little mid-evening nap, which we all know is never a good idea, as it makes it difficult to fall asleep when you actually go to bed. On the plus side, since I was busy napping, I wasn’t on the computer very much. I actually turned it off about an hour and a half before bed!  Thankfully it ended up not being too difficult to go to sleep either.

Final  Verdict Friday

Not surprisingly, after spending significantly less time staring at my computer screen last night I feel great today! Figuring out how to sleep better really makes you feel like a different person. My experiment this week has definitely taught me the valuable lesson that too much quality time with my laptop is not a good thing. Therefore I’m going to try my best to keep pulling myself away from the bright lights of my laptop at least an hour before bed every evening.

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2 Responses to “Will Less Quality Time With Your Computer Help You Sleep Better?”

  1. opalsolutions January 30, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Great article – I also came to the same conclusion several months ago when I realised that staring at a screen all day was seriously interfering with my ability to get quality sleep – unfortunately I don’t have much choice during the week but I completely avoid the computer at the weekends (and the tv too!).

    • thejerp January 30, 2012 at 8:55 am #

      Glad I’m not the only one who has come to this conclusion! Thanks for reading!

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