Thanks to all the extra time we had at home during the epidemic, many of us have been using our devices more frequently than ever. Generally, we spent most days of the past two years on our phones and laptop because of online learning or work-from-home schedules.
What might happen if you use these devices excessively? The answer is junk sleep.
But what is junk sleep, and what other factors contribute to this problem?
Let’s find out in this post.
What is Junk Sleep?
The term ‘junk sleep’ may or may not be familiar to you. However, if you frequently toss and turn in bed or wake up feeling worn out, you may be a victim of this problem.
The author of The Rested Child and The Sleep Solution, Dr. Chris Winter, also an accomplished neurologist, believes this is the definition of junk sleep.
‘Sleep that does not yield maximal health and wellness benefits.’
Poor sleep can lead to numerous health problems and a host of bodily malfunctions. Like junk food, junk sleep does not have any beneficial effects on improving our mental and physical health.
Just like junk food does not provide the essential nutrients we require to function optimally, junk sleep does not offer beneficial results to improve our physical and mental health.
For example, if you only eat potato chips for dinner every night, you won't get the essential nutrients you need to grow. However, enjoying an occasional cupcake or a doughnut does not harm.
Similarly, sleep that’s not long enough or is of poor quality will fail to nourish our bodies and the brain.
Signs of Junk Sleep
- Body pain
- Brain fog
- Chronic pain
- Declining health
- Digestion issues
- Excessive fatigue and lethargy
- Heart health issues
- Low energy
- Mood swings (crankiness, anxiety, depression)
- Poor memory or lack of concentration
What Contributes to Junk Sleep?
Do you wake up every night at 3 am for no reason? Do you experience sleep disruptions, sleep anxiety, or night sweats?
Many external and internal aspects could lead an individual to experience sleeplessness or poor sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation reveals that nearly 95% of people spend time on an electronic device within an hour of bedtime. They could be doing anything: catching up on the news, checking their Instagram or Facebook profiles, or reading something online.
Unfortunately, they consider this activity as part of their ‘me-time.’
However, using your tablet or phone before bedtime disrupts our biological clock and disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm. The result is junk or poor sleep.
It happens because screens emit blue light, preventing the brain from producing the sleep hormone or melatonin.
Some other factors that disrupt a regular sleep cycle include:
- Night sweats or hot flashes
- Extreme temperatures
- Snoring (your partner’s or your own
- Low-back or neck pain
- A low-quality mattress
- Too much noise
- Bathroom breaks
- Acid Reflux
How Do You Avoid Junk Sleep?
Some more immediate risks and health problems can develop over time due to consistent sleep deprivation. For instance, nearly 7.5 million Americans doze off behind the wheel every month. While it may last for a few seconds, all it takes is that long to lose control or, even worse, collide with another vehicle or injure a person.
If you don't want to doze off while driving or at work, here are some ways to maintain good sleep hygiene and avoid junk sleep.
Turn Off All Your Screens an Hour Before Your Bedtime
Make sure you don’t use any electronic devices. You can reply to all messages or emails in the morning.
Create A Charging Station in A Room That’s Not Yours
If you have a bedside table, remove it. You can set up a charging station in the living room. Use a digital alarm clock for setting up your daily alarms.
Think of Other Activities to Occupy Yourself
Read a book, write a journal, or paint before going to bed.
Follow a Bedtime Routine
The Sleep Foundation reveals that a bedtime routine includes activities you can perform every bedtime, in the same order, half an hour or an hour before your bedtime. While this routine can be according to your interests or lifestyle, you can try calming activities.
For example, journaling, meditating, yoga, or drinking chamomile tea.
Create a bedtime routine but make sure you follow it religiously. For example, do you often binge-watch your favorite shows/series or eat late at bedtime? Are you guilty of working until 1 am? To enjoy a good night’s sleep, you must say goodbye to all these things. That’s because it’s hard to wind down when your body and mind are still alert or active.
Create an Appropriate Sleep Environment
Your environment plays a crucial role in helping you enjoy better sleep. Numerous elements can disrupt your sleep patterns—for example, clutter, light, noise, or a warm/freezing environment.
Here are a few tips to help you transform your bedroom into peaceful heaven during bedtime.
Declutter: Remove all extra items (including your laptop or phone chargers) from your room. Put away dirty clothing and clear your bedside table of all additional objects.
Wear earplugs and a sleep mask: If you get distracted easily, trust the good old sleep mask and a pair of earplugs to get you in sleep mode. That’s an excellent tip for people who want to sleep with the lights on or have noisy neighbors.
Keep the temperature cool: Set your thermostat to 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for the ideal temperature range for good sleep. In addition, choose the right bedsheets to prevent night sweats.
Try Out Something New
Gentle stretching, box breathing, meditation apps, or box breathing can help you put yourself to sleep. It will also give you an excuse to put the phone down.
Some people like tracking their sleep with an app or devices like the Apple Watch. However, one of the essential things to ensure is limiting your screen time before bedtime.
Follow our quick guide to help you optimize your sleep schedule to fix your junk sleep issues. Remember, going to bed and waking up at specified times is a great way to start this journey. Over time, you will get enough REM sleep and improve your sleep quality. To learn more about iSense mattress be sure to check out what we have to offer.