Most of the scientific literature on screen time and sleep focuses on children and adolescents. However, between work-related and leisurely technology use, adults may obtain just as much – if not more – screen time than their younger counterparts! Many adults (myself included) are worried about the way their screen time may negatively impact their sleep quality. Using the latest research, we’ve gathered tips for adults to minimize deleterious effects of screen time on sleep.
Use blue light-blocking glasses
In 2018, researchers from Columbia University published a study on amber-tinted blue light-blocking lenses. The randomized controlled trial showed that individuals with insomnia that use amber lenses for 2 hours before bedtime experience longer total sleep time and more sound, quality sleep. Amber-tinted blue light-blocking glasses are a safe and affordable option to counteract the effect of screen time on your sleep. Check out The Strategist’s list of the best blue-light blocking glasses in 2020 here.
Leisure without technology
A study including 7,800 adults assessed the relationship between work-related and leisurely technology use on sleep problems. Results suggested that work-related technology use had no impact on sleep problems. However, leisurely computer use contributed to sleep issues. With this in mind, consider other ways to spend your non-work hours such as playing board games, exercising/relaxing outside, or reading physical (not electronic) books or magazines.
Take TV out of the bedroom
University of Vermont researchers conducted a study in 2010 on the impact of removing bedroom television sets on screen time for overweight adults. Participants with bedroom TVs averaged 1.8 more hours of total TV time than participants whose television sets were removed from their bedroom. Although this study did not find an association between total TV time and sleep, this may be inaccurate. Rather than using objective measures of sleep (e.g., actigraphy), participants self-reported sleep time and quality.
Macular carotenoid supplements
In 2017, University of Georgia (UGA) researchers published an article on their study of macular carotenoid supplementation. Study participants included 48 adults with high screen time exposure – 6 or more hours per day. Among these adults, participants who took 24 mg of macular carotenoid supplements experienced significant improvements in overall sleep quality. MacuHealth with LMZ is a commercially available macular carotenoid supplement that contains all three macular carotenoids used in the UGA study.