Life

How to sleep: why your late-night online shopping habit could be to blame for your restless nights

Posted by
Lauren Geall
Published
Woman online shopping in bed

Can’t sleep? It could be because so many of us are turning to online shopping at night – and it’s time we changed that.

There’s no denying that we’re a society obsessed with sleep.

Questions over whether we’re getting enough of it, what kind of quality we’re getting and what sleep-tracking tools we’re using have replaced last night’s TV as peak water cooler chat.

And while some of us have that gene that means we only need a few hours of sleep per night, it’s still high on most of our priorities to make sure we’re feeling rested and ready to tackle the day.

But it’s clear not all of us are finding it that easy to get the sleep we aspire to get. In fact, statistics released last year gave us a surprising insight into the sleep habits of people up and down the country – and it seems that many of us are turning to technology to assuage the pain of not being able to fall asleep.

According to the latest website figures from John Lewis, night-time shopping is up 23% in the last year alone – with the department store sharing the news that online shopping between midnight and 6am now accounts for around one in 15 purchases that use its credit card.

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Women were also much more likely to spend their sleepless hours shopping than men – according to the data, women account for 66% of purchases made in the late-night and early morning period.

And this isn’t the only data that reveals this surprising trend. According to a study by Barclaycard, 10:18pm is the time that most of us press the purchase button on our online basket, ready for the item to arrive on our desk the following day.

Woman in bed in the dark lit up by a laptop.
Sleep Habits: Late-night online shopping could be seriously influencing your sleep habits.

The problem is, reaching for your phone or laptop when you’re struggling to sleep is probably one of the worst things you can do – the blue light emitted by our screens actually restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. If you’re struggling with your sleep at the moment, consider reducing your screen time instead, and resisting the urge to pick up your phone in the middle of the night.

And reaching for any kind of sleep-tracking technology could also be impacting the way you sleep, too: orthosomnia, the medical term for the anxiety caused by an over-reliance on sleep-tracking technology, can actually lead you to feel worse in the long run. 

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To counteract the potentially damaging impact your technology could be having on your sleep routine, you could consider banning your phone or laptop from your bedroom entirely – especially if you’re looking to reduce your scroll-time in the long run, too. 

Instead, consider switching on a warm, low light and reading a chapter or two of a book. Or, if you’re not ready to get rid of technology in the bedroom quite yet, why not plug yourself in to a soothing podcast and close your eyes as you listen?

Whatever you do, cutting back on any and all technology (or blue light) will give your body a better chance of falling asleep. Plus, it’s good news for the planet (and your bank balance). What’s not to love?

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Lauren Geall

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