It seems our parents may have been right when they told us not to watch TV or stare at our phones before bed, because now, science agrees.
Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry from the UCLA School of Medicine, has explained to Business Insider just how damaging the effects of interacting with our phones, tablets, or computer screens right before we go to sleep can be.
And to be honest, it's enough to make you immediately want to shut off those screens and dive into a new novel before dozing off, instead.
Essentially, by staring into our screens just before bed, we're actually soaking up a "stream of photons"—which tell our brains that we want to stay awake. Helpful.
When it's time for sleep, our brains naturally secrete melatonin, which allows us to switch off, but consuming all this digital information prevents us from doing so. So that's probably why you've found yourself tossing and turning for an hour or so before you can actually switch off at night.
But the damage, unfortunately, isn't just tiredness the following day caused by a later bedtime. By staying awake, we don't allow those precious neurons of ours to rest, and we also prevent the supportive "glial" cells from cleaning up the toxins that our neurons have emitted throughout the day.
And if you weren't convinced enough, a study recently conducted by the University of California backs up what Dr Siegel was saying. The research found that the more time you spend perusing your phone before bed, the worse your quality of sleep will be. Plus, it'll affect how long it takes you to drop off in the first place.
Bad times. So let's all put down those phones, shut off those iPads, and start listening to science, yeah?
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.