How to keep your screen time under control and get a better night’s sleep

If you are new to working from home, it may affect how much screen time you are exposed to everyday, and it could be harming the quality of your sleep.

Upon waking you check emails before mindlessly scrolling through your fave social networks. Then you complete an 8-hour workday in front of a computer screen – that workday often extending into another 30 minutes or a few more hours tying up loose ends. Then, you binge a streaming video to unwind from the day. Your phone and computer emit blue light, which suppresses production of melatonin (the natural “sleepy” hormone that our bodies require darkness to produce), making it difficult for you to “turn off” your brain and fall asleep. You feel sluggish, unfulfilled, and less motivated. This feeling can lead to burn out in work and in personal life

What is the science behind sleep and productivity? 

The importance of sleep is extraordinary – it affects virtually every tissue and system in the human body. While we sleep, it helps our ability to think creatively and clearly, process new information and manage emotions. A lack of sleep can lead to errors, slow response reaction, and mistakes at work. It can increase irritability and make you vulnerable to stress. While working from home, creating a tangible balance between work, screen time and adequate sleep can be difficult, but it is vital to find that balance in order to have better sleep and consistency at work.

How can I get my screen time under control?

We are all guilty of indulging in excessive screen time – especially with blurred lines when working from home. There are a number of ways you can mindfully approach reducing screen time to feel healthier and more productive:

  • Create strict boundaries: If you are working later and later or getting work messages outside working hours, it’s time to set some strict boundaries. Speak to your team about hours you can’t be reached, turn off your work phone and notifications when work hours are complete. If you used to enjoy your commute to unwind, try to incorporate a pre and post work stroll. Regular physical activity helps with sleep.
  • Try a different medium: It is so easy to turn to phones to access your fave recipes, news, or a quick internet research. Instead switch off the devices, use a cookbook and stock up on interesting novels. Or arrange a newspaper or magazine delivery, so you can still get all the news without needing a screen.
  • Can your call be done without a Zoom meeting? If so, try it, and add a little movement while on the phone (even if that’s pacing the office!)
  • Ban charging phones in certain rooms: Buy an old-school alarm clock and leave your mobile phone charging in the living room, making it less tempting for a midnight social media scroll.
  • Make rules and involve others: Examples for rules with tech could be no eating with a screen, or no movies in bed. Getting your flatmates, partner or children involved can making it a fun way of living.
  • Create sleep routines: Create a bedtime routine that works for you. Like limiting caffeine and alcohol before sleep, dimming the lights in your home 2 hours before bedtime for melatonin to do its job. Make your room dark, put on relaxing essential oils and pick up a great book, listen to a podcast, or journal. Fostering healthy habits truly promotes restful sleep, and the more consistent you are, the better!