August 17, 2020
Do you find yourself nodding off throughout the day, despite getting more than eight hours of sleep each night? This is one of the most common symptoms of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea, in which the tissues in your mouth and throat collapse during the night and block your airway. As a result, you temporarily stop breathing and wake up. This can happen several times a night, preventing you from getting the deep sleep you need to feel fully rested. In addition to sleep apnea, spending time on your cell phone before bed can also interfere with the quality of your sleep. Keep reading below to learn how.
How Cell Phone Use Can Rob You of Quality Shut-Eye
The human body’s circadian rhythm, which is essentially your “body clock,” is highly sensitive to the blue light emitted by cell phones, especially on social media apps. Your brain naturally interprets this blue light as the color of the sky during daytime. Since your body thinks it’s much earlier in the day than it really is, your brain suppresses the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. This prevents you from feeling tired until later in the night, until long after you’ve put your device away.
Even using your phone or tablet to read doesn’t help. In a recent study, participants who read electronically went to bed later and were less alert upon waking than those who read only printed materials before bed.
How You Can Improve Your Quality of Sleep
If you’re struggling with sleep apnea, getting the restful sleep you need can already be difficult. One important way to help is to turn off all of your electronic devices an hour before bedtime. You can also switch to low lighting in your house at night. These help your brain recognize that it’s nighttime and produce the melatonin you need for a good night’s sleep.
Instead of staring at a screen, spend this time doing something relaxing, such as reading a physical book, listening to a podcast, writing in a journal, or meditating.
The Importance of Treating Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea, and poor sleep quality in general, has been linked to an increased risk of depression, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. That’s why, in addition to reducing screen time, getting sleep apnea treatment is crucial.
Today, oral appliance therapy makes treating sleep apnea more convenient than ever before. This comfortable device gently repositions your jaw to keep your airway open at night. It’s a much more tolerable alternative to the loud, often uncomfortable CPAP machine.
Combining treatment with better habits, like turning your devices off an hour before bed, can help you find relief from sleep apnea and improve your overall quality of life.
About the Author
Dr. Steven Oshins is a dentist in Schenectady, NY who studied at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. In April of 2019, he completed a dental sleep medicine residency at the University of North Carolina. He is able to create personalized oral appliances to help patients with sleep apnea achieve better rest. He is also working toward certification as a Diplomate of Sleep Medicine. To learn more about how you can improve your quality of sleep, contact Oshins of Smiles at (518)-356-5635.
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