It’s almost become natural to check our phones before going to bed, but studies are showing that this could be causing havoc with the quality of our sleep. Research suggests that the effects of using screens before bedtime could be even worse than just taking longer to get to sleep. This isn’t just restricted to phones, but also TV, tablets, laptops and e-readers.

Studies have suggested that using screens before bed can impact your alertness the following day, decreasing your overall energy and how you perform generally. But of course, as students, we use screens most of the time to do work, making it difficult to escape screens when we’re working at all hours of the day. It’s been suggested that if you can, using printed books is far better than using an E-reader, because they are easier on the eyes.

For those of us that cannot escape using screens before bed, there are ways around it to avoid reducing the effectiveness of our sleep entirely. Filters can be installed to block out the blue light on screens; for android and PC users there are apps and websites for this, such as F.lux, which enables you to download software to reduce the blue light. Because the lights from screens stimulate our brains, it makes us less tired, meaning we take far longer to fall asleep. The tiredness then kicks in the next day because we’ve cut our essential sleep short. Not only does the lack of sleep make us less alert, it reduces our melatonin levels, which are important in helping to regulate our sleep.

And without proper sleep, the risks are pretty much endless, like increased chances of developing cancer from that suppressed melatonin. If you don’t have to look at screens before bed, then it’s definitely best to avoid it to ensure you get your normal amount of uninterrupted sleep!