10 Myths About Sleep

Screen Time Is a Good Way to Ease into Sleep
Staying connected right up to the time you’re falling asleep is not a good idea. © monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Thinkstock

Ninety-one percent of Americans adults own a PC or laptop, and almost half own a tablet. And then there are our phones. Eighty percent of American adults own a cell or smartphone; one-third say they can't even begin to imagine living without them. And even if you don't consider yourself a smartphone addict, we're all using them a lot more; in 2014, on average, we used our smartphones 45 percent more every month than we did in 2013 [sources: GlobalWebIndex, Pew, Cisco]. What are we doing with our tech? Mostly we text, but we also browse the Web, play games and use social media — more than we actually use the phone as a phone.

While staying connected may feel good, nearly half of us sleep with our phone (and that rises to as many as 74 percent for people under the age of 34), and the consequences of that habit aren't so good at all [Source: Pew, Lookout].

You may enjoy falling asleep watching a movie, catching up on social media or reading an e-book, but the devices you use to do those things all emit short-wavelength enriched light — blue light. Research shows that light exposure disrupts the body's circadian clock and reduces the levels of melatonin produced by the pineal gland. Reading on an iPad before bed, for instance, is shown to delay natural circadian rhythm by more than one hour [source: Chang, et al].

The best advice? Wait until the morning to check your phone — which 80 percent of us already do as soon as we wake up [source: Stadd].