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Make this one change and you could improve your sleep in a week

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
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Screen time

A new study suggests that bad sleep patterns can be improved by cutting down our screen time over the course of just seven days.

We all know that too much screen time is disruptive to our sleep. And it comes as no surprise that the average office worker spends almost 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer screen.

But there are steps to be taken to ensure we cut down on screen usage – with trying to resist that final scroll before bed being at the top of pretty much everybody’s list.

Getting a good night’s sleep means better health, but exactly how much can making changes to the way we interact with our phones, laptops and iPads actually improve our sleep?

Well, new research proves that we could see changes in as quickly as a week – which makes the sacrifice sound worth it, right?

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The research, which was found using a study on adolescents, was presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting by Dirk Jan Stenvers (Amsterdam UMC University).

It found that people who had more than four hours of screen time took half an hour to get to sleep. They also woke up more than those who recorded less than one hour per day of screen time, and showed more symptoms of sleep loss (tiredness, lack of concentration).

His team then conducted a randomised controlled trial to assess the effects of blocking blue light with glasses and no screen time during the evening on the sleep pattern of 25 frequent users. This resulted in them getting to sleep quicker and waking up 20 minutes earlier, along with a reduction in reported symptoms of sleep loss after just one week.

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Although the study focused on adolescent users, there’s a lesson for anyone who scrolls through their phone too much to learn here.

“We show very simply that these sleep complaints can be easily reversed by minimising evening screen use or exposure to blue light,” said Stenvers.

“Based on our data, it is likely that adolescent sleep complaints and delayed sleep onset are at least partly mediated by blue light from screens,” he added.

For anyone concerned about phone usage affecting their sleep patterns, it’s definitely something to trial over the next week. 

Image: Getty

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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