By the time you get ready to go to bed, you check your clock and realize it’s way later than you realized. You jump into bed, and then you find that when your head hits the pillow, your mind starts racing. You can’t sleep at all. You’re physically exhausted, but sleep just doesn’t come.

Does this sound familiar to you?

If it does, it’s possible that technology is disturbing your body’s innate sense of night and day. Scientists from Harvard Medical School have recently suggested that the light of screens causing havoc with our sleep patterns. Blue light, which is particularly prevalent in tablet, phone and laptop screens, prevents the body from delivering the melatonin which tells the body that it’s time for sleep.

And if we don’t feel tiredness, sleep won’t arrive. It won’t matter how physically exhausted we are.

Fear not. We came across these 5 practical tips by a meditation and mindfulness expert which will help you reduce the impact of technology and go to bed in a more mindful way.

We’ve put together 5 tips to help you reduce the impact of technology and go to bed in a more mindful way.

1. Create a bedtime ritual. It might be taking a bath, brushing your teeth, and reading for half an hour by a gentle light. But establishing a set routine and sticking to it means you’re less likely to be exposed to unpredictable thoughts right before you hit the hay. Excluding your phone from that ritual isn’t a bad idea either.

2. Have a cut-off time for work emails. You get a little blip of adrenaline every time you get a request that requires a response. Defending a boundary about how late you’ll work can sometimes feel like a big ask, but it will benefit your work overall. In France, labor unions are even creating agreements that mean they won’t have to check emails after long days. They really know how to live over there.

3. Sleep with your phone in another room. It sounds obvious, but getting hold of an old-fashioned alarm clock and leaving your mobile in the kitchen when you go to bed might give you a little more space. At the very least you won’t be able to compound the problem by reaching for your phone when you can’t sleep. If you really need to listen out for calls at night, make sure you can hear the ring from bed.

4. Meditate in the morning. The benefits of meditation are manifold (it can also help with relationships, anxiety and even focus), but one of the most important in this case is the capacity it has to help you develop space between you and your thinking. What this means in practice is that you might just about be able to catch yourself starting to engage in behavior you know could be harmful for your sleep (like using your smartphone in bed) and just take the time to pause, and make another choice.

5. Breathing exercise before bed. It could feel a bit unnatural at first, but putting aside ten minutes to do a simple breathing meditation before bed can often help you to get off to sleep quicker. Think of it as a de-stress meditation, a chance to slow down and create a buffer between your waking life and your bedtime.

Further resources

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Originally published at The Power of Ideas.

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