Tech habits to help you get a better night’s sleep


becca caddy sleep tech

Never look at your phone before bed. We’ve all heard this advice before, right? But is it true that screen time and bedtime shouldn’t mix? And, if so, what tech-related steps can we take to help us sleep better? 

Several studies do suggest(opens in new tab) that staring at screens before bed can lead to less sleep later that night. But how much less? A more recent 2020 study(opens in new tab) found that tech use before bed might decrease your time spent asleep, but only by a couple of minutes, tops. 

Now, this doesn’t mean you should keep scrolling until you nod off. But you don’t need to be stressed out and strict about screen time either. Instead, let’s try and get more specific about how your tech stops you from sleeping well. 

For example, is it the light from your screen that makes your eyes hurt? Or that your phone reminds you of the mountain of unread emails you have to deal with in the morning? Maybe it’s that scrolling through angry tweets as you slip between the sheets leaves you feeling more restless than restful? We’ll cover all of these problems in our guide below. 

But the most important one is obvious. Tech takes up a lot of time. A lot of time that you could be spending sleeping instead. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings perfectly summed this up when, on an earnings call in 2017(opens in new tab), he said: 

“You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. We’re competing with sleep, on the margin. And so, it’s a very large pool of time.”

If we can identify what it is about our tech habits that can cause sleep stress (like emails, light or endless scrolling), we have a chance of changing them—a much better strategy than demonising all of our screens for good. 

With that in mind, here are my top tips for managing your screen time before bed. For more suggestions, pick up a copy of my book Screen Time: How To Make Peace With Your Devices And Find Your Techquilibrium(opens in new tab).

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