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Simple Drug-Free Trick Improves Your Sleep

You’d be amazed at how many patients tell me they have trouble sleeping. For some, it’s trouble falling asleep. For others, it’s trouble staying asleep. I’m sure you can relate. But before you turn to sleeping pills – or even to certain supplements – I have a simple, drug-free trick you should try. It often works like a charm.

Not long ago, I was told that too much screen time is making today’s kids nearsighted. But just because you’re over the hill doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods! It turns out too much screen time – especially at nighttime – is having a major impact on adults, too: It’s ruining your sleep.

For a study published in the journal Sleep, researchers used a web-based survey to collect information on sleep quality, insomnia symptoms, and on when people used various screens (tv, phone, tablet, etc.).

Enough studies have been done on screens and sleep to know that one is not good for the other. Screen time exposes you to blue light, which disrupts your circadian rhythm. And because it mimics the effects of sunlight, it suppresses your body’s sleep hormone, melatonin. The type of content you’re reading or watching could create an emotional reaction that could also disrupt your sleep.

You have two choices here. You could take steps to block your exposure to blue light at night – like purchasing blue-light blocking glasses to wear, or getting an app on your phone that filters out the blue light. Or better yet, turn off all electronic devices an hour or so before bedtime. Take a bath, read a book, connect with your spouse. Trust me, in no time at all your sleep quality and quantity will improve.

To a brighter day,

Dr. Richard Gerhauser, M.D.