Looking at a screen before going to bed can have a better sleep experience? This new study may change cognition

Twenty-four hours a day, people sleep nearly one-third of the time. If we can't get a good rest through sleep, our bodies will also be in trouble. However, nearly one-third of the world's population suffers from problems such as insufficient sleep time and poor sleep quality. Make sleep time that should be relaxing a little more painful.

If you search for "how to improve sleep quality?", the results you get are already known: relax your mind before going to bed, exercise properly, adjust your sleep cycle, avoid watching screens before going to bed… But these methods are almost easier to do than to do. For people who are inseparable from various electronic devices today, it can be said that it is difficult to "avoid looking at the screen before going to bed".

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However, a recent study in the Journal of Sleep Research suggests that some people may actually get more rest by watching something before bed, depending on how they use the media.

Research by Morgan Ellithorpe of the University of Delaware and Lindsay Hahn of the University at Buffalo and others sought to tease out the different media people use before bed and how they affect sleep quality.

The main focus of the study, though, was to investigate how different types of traditional media affect sleep, and did not focus on active interaction with the device, but on whether passively watching or listening to sleep before going to sleep affected sleep quality.

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The study included 58 adults who were asked to self-report their media use an hour before bed each night. In addition to the type of media they were consuming (TV, podcasts, books, etc.), they also recorded where the media was used (in bed or in the lounge) and whether they multitasked (e.g., using their phone while watching TV) .

The researchers also trained them to use an electroencephalography (EEG) machine at home, which, unlike many previous studies of sleep measurements that relied on self-reports, can provide a more detailed look at sleep quality.

By tracking EEG readings such as REM and total time spent in deep sleep, the researchers found that sleep quality was not affected by media use in the hour before bed. The researchers also found that using media before bed actually improved overall sleep time.

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"Watching streaming content or listening to podcasts before bed can improve your sleep as a passive, calming activity," the researchers said. "Media use before bedtime is associated with earlier sleep duration and longer overall sleep duration. Relevant, as long as the usage is relatively short and not multitasking, such as texting while browsing social media.”

Morgan Ellithorpe also mentioned that the longer people use media in bed, the greater the negative impact on sleep. If you plan to use media before bed, such as watching TV or listening to music, keep it short and focused so your sleep that night is less likely to have a negative impact.

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Notably, a 2020 study in the journal Sleep Medicine showed that 30 minutes of social media use before bed in 32 young volunteers had no effect on any measure of sleep quality. However, the study also found significant improvements in both objective and subjective measures of sleep in the experimental group where the volunteers did a 30-minute relaxation exercise.

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From the results of the study, whether the human door can improve sleep depends on the type and time of use. Staying up late to watch shows can’t help us get a good night’s sleep. We still need to minimize the time we use electronic devices, but watching the screen before going to bed is not without benefits.

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