The one hour before going to bed is the most important hour of your next day.
Does that make sense? It actually does.
The time in the evening, especially the one hour before bed, is very important for your next day.
The way you spend this one hour affects your sleep tremendously, in a positive or negative way.
Most of us use this one hour to watch movies or tv series, check email, read blogposts and so on. Unfortunately all of those activities include electronics and screens of some kind.
Using screens of any kind is very bad for your sleep and disrupts it, as research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston suggests.
They compared people reading on a screen to people reading a physical book. The screen users were less sleepy, took more time to get to sleep and stayed up later in general.
While being less sleepy when getting to bed, they were actually sleepier and less alert on the next morning.
Conclusion: Using a screen before bedtime will decrease the quality of your sleep and also the quality of your next day.
One of the main reasons for this effect is the blue light emitted from screens. Blue light decreases the melatonin (sleep hormone) production in your body and messes with your circadian rhythm.
Another reason electronics keep you awake are their distracting characteristics.
When you read a physical book, there is just the text of the book that can capture your attention. With tablets or phones that’s not the case. Notifications, browsers, apps and other distractions are all over the place.
You have to rely on your willpower to resist the urge to check Facebook or Instagram, and that rarely works.
Sadly, at the end of the day, your willpower usually is depleted and it is more likely that you give in to those distractions, using your tablet for several hours without even noticing it.
On the next day you’ll feel sleepy and groggy, not productive and thinking you have to “catch up” with your sleep deficit.
You have all those unproductive and tired hours during the next day, because you spend this one hour before bed with your screen.
Your next day, or more specifically your performance and well-being on the next day really depend on that one hour before going to bed.
Here’s what you should do, short and simple.
#1: Turn off all your electronics one hour before bed. I know I’ve written about this many times and you probably can’t hear it any more, but it is THAT important. People who’ve tried this reported not only better sleep, but also more focus and longer concentration periods. Try it. Don’t get sucked into the digital world. Don’t get addicted to that little screen.
#2: Install f.lux or some other filter on your phone/computer/etc. In case you have to work late the effects of your bright screen won’t be that bad, but don’t think of this as free pass to spend your nighttime hours in front of any screen.
In case you spend this one hour reading (physical books), you’ll get a ton of reading done!
Everytime you spend the one hour before going to bed without electronics, your next day will be awesome!