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Turning Off Your Phone for an Hour May Improve Wellbeing: Research

Woman with her dog and phone in bed

We all know that screen time before bed is not a great idea — more often than not, looking at your phone before trying to fall asleep messes with your ability to wind down and get a good night’s sleep. To examine the benefits of reducing phone time before getting ready for bed, researchers designed a new experiment where people had to power down their phones down for an hour before bed, and they discovered that after doing so, participants had improved mental wellbeing.

They asked professionals in the UK who reported using their phones a lot to turn off their phones an hour before bed — and keep them off through the night. The participants did this for only one week, and after only that short period of time, they reporting having increased wellbeing and improved quality of life compared to those who did not.

Related: Poor sleep linked to mental illness, large-scale study says.

With less time on their phones, researchers found participants were more responsive to the world around them and saw themselves as physically healthier. The lessened screen time also affected their phone addiction, which was reduced.

Aside from improving their sleep and wellbeing, participants also reported that powering off their phones reduced their anxiety, and gave them more time for themselves before bed. Whether they used that time to reflect on the day or read or connect with their partners (which we also know is important when done right) they didn’t feel like they were wasting time.

Related: 10 reasons you can never get enough sleep.

If you’re still struggling to put your phone down and get ready for bed, try our tips for beating revenge bedtime procrastination — you might find it easier to unplug than you think and end up feeling better after a more restful night of sleep.

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