June 16

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Loose the screen tonight for greater productivity tomorrow

By Ralph Varcoe

June 16, 2020

productivity hacks

6.7   Ditch the Screen and Sleep Like a Baby

Productivity hack no.59 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.


There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that artificial light impacts our circadian rhythm. Too much of it late at night, or just before going to sleep, can have a negative effect on your ability to fall asleep. The strength of the light and its colour have an impact.

The lower the strength the better. And the less white it is, the less stimulation. In white light, or natural light, there are a lot of blue wavelengths and it is these that are thought to be harmful to your chances of dropping off quickly at night. This is why the mobile manufacturers have different light settings for evening or night time that filter out the blue. If you turn on ‘night mode’ the screen will go a little yellowy because the blue has been removed.

Applying this filter when you’re reading an article, or browsing social media is okay. But, do you really want a yellow tinge as you watch an episode of ‘Killing Eve’? Probably not. It just wouldn’t look quite right or convey the intended dramatic emotions.

The wisdom out there suggests that it’s the two factors of light strength and colour which have the most impact, though there is another that I think is key. The content on the screen.

Watching an episode of ‘Luther’ just before you intend to sleep just isn’t the best preparation for a calm and easy descent into the blissful semi-conscious state of sleep. With your heart racing and brain whirring as it goes back over what just happened, there’s a little time needed to recover.

Reading through the latest opinion piece from the Mail Online might similarly set you off on a bit of a head spin. Quickly looking something up which you’ve been meaning to do for a while then inevitably leads you to check something else, and then another thing. The brain is alive and awake. What about checking Facebook or Instagram? Your receptors will be firing and making connections.

You get the point. All of these things are stimulating, regardless of the light quality itself.

Ditch your screens before bedtime and get into a peaceful, uncluttered, restful state to maximise your chances of nodding off more quickly.

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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