Switch Off Your Tech To Reclaim Your Family’s Sleep

Is your household tech having a detrimental affect on you and your family's sleep? With more and more devices and gadgets making it into our bedrooms at night, perhaps it's time to take steps to stop the 24/7 digital deluge. Slumber expert from The Sleep Site, Dave Gibson, shares his 10 top tips to reclaim your sleep...

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Our 24/7 lifestyle powered by endless gadgets and devices has undoubtedly led to a reduction in our time asleep, with both adults and children alike glued to their screens into the night. With mobile phones being used as wake-up alarms and the ‘fear of missing out’ leading many of us to check our emails and social media before we have even left the bedroom each morning, technology is now firmly 'embedded' in a room traditionally used for sleep and cuddles only. 

Here are 10 simple steps with which to ‘reclaim your sleep’...

1. Set boundaries

It's important to set family boundaries on tech use, so that everyone is getting a good night's rest. Keeping all phones and technology out of the bedroom overnight will help everyone to avoid the temptation to use it late into the night and first thing in the morning.

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2. Ditch the phone

Stop relying on your phone as a wake-up alarm and instead, buy yourself and your children a traditional alarm, or better still a ‘dawn simulator’ which recreates a natural sunrise each morning – what could be a more relaxing way to wake up to the world?

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3. Set a curfew

Have a tech curfew starting about 1½ hours before bedtime so your brain can unwind. Make this a family boundary and ensure all tech is stopped at this time.

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4. Use dimmers on your devices 

Many devices have a dimmer which kicks in for evening use. Install flux on your phones, tablets and computers to remove the blue light emitted from screens, which has been proven to stop melatonin (our sleep hormone) from kicking in and initiating sleep.

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5. Leave work at the bedroom door

Write out all notes for your workday ahead and leave them in the lounge or kitchen, rather than writing them in bed. Never take work into your bedroom as it gives you brain the wrong associations for a room which is for rest not work. Encourage your older children to do the same.

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6. Wind down before bed

Develop a relaxing routine such as taking a bath or shower, reading a book, putting out your clothes for the next day, and meditation before bed, so by the time your head hits the pillow, you're in the zone.

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7. Get the kids onboard

While older children will want to socialise in the privacy of their bedroom in the evening via mobile technology, encourage them to observe the family boundaries and put their phone outside of their bedroom overnight to charge next to yours.

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8. Make time for family pursuits

Play family games rather than allow your children to isolate on their own. The old board games are great for proper social interaction and without screen time, the brain is far less 'over-stimulated'. Learn new card games or chess – whatever it takes to get off tech late in the evening. 

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9. Educate your children

With kids, it's important they understand the reasons behind any rule or boundary setting in the house, so make sure you teach them about the potentially damaging impacts of tech, the importance of sleep and how their learning may be affected if they don't get enough shut-eye each night. Read more about tech, sleep and teens at The Sleep Site.

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10. Be a good role model

Finally, remember you can’t expect children to do anything that you are not prepared to do yourself. If you want them to get off their mobile phone in the evening, then you'll also need to put your phone away for the evening too. If they want to get in touch with their friends, why not get them to call rather than text it is a far more meaningful method of communication. 

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For more helpful sleep tips, visit TheSleepSite.co.uk 

Sleep expert, Dave Gibson.

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Guest Monday, 14 October 2019

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