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Digital Makeover: Get Your Phone, Tablet, and Laptop Out of Your Bedroom

Eric Steuer

Ever feel like you're not sleeping as well as you should be? The problem just might be the device you're using right now to read this. A new study claims that exposure to light from electronic displays causes the suppression of melatonin, a chemical critical in the regulation of the body's sleep-wake cycle. Today's 30 Days of GOOD task is simple—give yourself the gift of better sleep by banishing your gadgets from your room, so you're not tempted to peek at email before bed.

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  • Matt Kennedy

    It's not enough to ban the gadgets. You need to ban the digital alarm clock, remove (or tape over) any switches/devices etc. that have little glowing lights and block all ambient light from your windows. Basically, you need to be in a PITCH black room. Don't fear that you won't wake up without the daylight, your body adjusts VERY quickly. The bench-mark study of this issue illustrates my point: Sleep scientists placed a subject, in a pitch black room, and taped a tiny red LED to the back of his knee (which was switched off). When they flicked this tiny LED on, his melatonin production turned off - immediately!

    • Matt Kennedy

      For those who need to wean themselves off the 'puter or laptop before bed, download this amazing and free app f.lux (for Mac, WInodze, Linux, iPhone, iPad) which syncs up with your local sunset and changes the colour cast (NOT the brightness) s-l-o-w-l-y as the sun sets. This helps your natural melatonin cycle as the screen colour shifts from icy, brain shredding blue to a warmer yellow (which most won't even notice). The coolest thing is to use it for an hour or so, and then temporarily disable it from the menu - you'll be utterly startled at how blue and jarring the colour cast of your screen is!
      Download it here:

  • Vast Shadow

    I sleep like a baby, I been on the net since AOL. Before the computer... I'd just passout at my TV screen, because I'm pretty restless. Some people are just restless... Look at all the philosophies of the stars and planets... The greek, The pagans, the japanese, and many other cultures that focus around the planet and stars in their philosophy --- WERE nightowls.

    Our entire generations of culture and ethics, come from people that stayed up all night. People that didn't even have computers or TVs often stayed up just to wonder.

    You want better sleep? Wind down and don't be fixated on anything... Watch TV--do something that involves no brain functionality(like watching TV) . The more the mind has to collaborate feeling, thought, and other cerebral gestures... The more the mind will continue to try to maintain full function. Its simple.

    • sinner


  • jrcjrcjrc

    The only thing I've left in my bedroom is the TV with the brightness completely down, the contrast very low. I've been doing better since getting everything else out of there, however the TV is my next step.

    • Vast Shadow

      More reason why the observation, is hoaxy. People been sleeping with TVs on for a good while.

      • Matt Kennedy

        Sleeping poorly and becoming fat, cranky and depressed.
        try an n=1 experiment. Pitch black room for a month. You'll feel so good you'll send me money. (PS: Don't send me money!)

        • Vast Shadow

          People still sleep with radios on and TVs... Candescent lighting... Is not bad for you, but its not healthier for you either. Sun light is healthy for you, in moderation. Sunlight is actually part of your genetics--your body reacts to its exposure. I believe it is Vitamin D or E. If you are without sunlight for a long period your eye with develop a twitch or spasm.

          Sitting in the dark staring at a monitor can cause a doppler-like effect of your eye sight... Looking into dark after staring at a monitor will make your eyes see blotches of color.
          Again its practically harmless...

          However, there is skin-pigmentation disorders that only happen to black people and mexicans. Its where they essentially turn white. Unknown cause -- but their entire body will lose their natural skin pigmentation color. An will sometimes be white and red as the usual Caucasian.

  • Bernard M Lynch Jr

    My bedroom has ALWAYS been a "technology-free zone" despite the fact that I've had five spinal surgeries. My only concession is a phone with the ringer turned off. Try it, folks. You'd be surprised at how the entire room becomes calming.

  • Kimberly Springer

    I fall off and climb back on this wagon. Public accountability is a GOOD thing.

  • Diana Ahrens

    i have no doubt this is a good idea. sounds like i need to buy a new alarm clock. i use my phone as my alarm and as a result always check email as soon as i wake up. i'm sure that can't be good for my morning stress.

    • Sara Stollings

      It's okay Diana. The study is only about before bed. It doesn't hurt anything if you use it in the morning! At least not that we know of :P

  • Sara Stollings

    So we're talking just before bed right? I can give this a try! But I need my phone when I wake up. I check facebook and read the news before I get out of bed every morning.

    • nick kovaleski

      you NEED your phone every morning, or you WANT your phone every morning?...there's a difference


      • Sara Stollings

        Oh I'm sorry. I apologize for using the word NEED instead of WANT. The entire thing is about it hurting your sleep BEFORE bed. Not AFTER you wake up. I was just adding that little anecdote. #dotherightthing? That doesn't even apply.

        • nick kovaleski

          yes, study is about electronics and all that before bed. my topic was more just a discussion about wants vs needs. and i guess do the right thing was just me trying to say maybe you could give it ten minutes after waking up to get up and stretch out your mind to focus on the day ahead.

          • Sara Stollings

            Ok now I am really apologizing. I read your comment as being condescending so my response was very defensive. I'm sorry. You're right it is a want. I used the wrong word without even thinking about it, which is probably worse! I understand what you were saying now. I guess I consider reading the news on my phone in the morning stretching my mind but I do understand what you are suggesting.

            • nick kovaleski

              no need to be sorry. i don't own a cell phone, so i suppose those who do can certainly focus their day around the news they receive from their phones, it's why we stay connected after all. just remember that we're all here for GOOD keep on keepin' on.

  • Doris Yee

    The tradition of having an alarm clock is beaten out by your cell phone as your usual morning buzzer now. I'll plug and charge my Droid (which has a pretty large display) in an outlet furthest away from my bed just so I'm not tempted to check email or text before getting some shut eye.

  • Katy Claisse

    If this is valid for tv too, this is gonna be even harder...

  • Yasha Wallin

    This is going to be very hard, but I'm going to do it!