This Is the One Thing You Should Never Do Before Bed

But, chances are, you already do it every night.

We've all heard about how spending too much time on social media can make a person feel lonely and depressed. A recent study found that people between the ages of 18 and 22—otherwise known as Generation Z, or the iGeneration, folks who are perpetually glued to their phones—are the loneliest age group in America. And another recent study found that "phubbing"—the act of ignoring someone while flipping through your phone—leads to decreased marital satisfaction and a greater likelihood of depression.

But even if you aren't one of the 26 percent of American adults who admit to being online "almost constantly," you're probably guilty of scrolling through your phone, or using it to watch a show or movie, as a way to unwind before falling asleep. A 2015 study found that 71 percent of Americans cuddle up with their smartphone when they go to bed, and one in four have even admitted to falling asleep with it in their hands at one point or another. A more recent study even found that so many people are watching Netflix late at night that it's causing couples to have less sex.

Given how important sleep is for your body's ability to function, scientists are especially concerned about how this growing trend is disrupting our body clocks. Now, a new wide-ranging study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, has revealed how this dangerous habit can impact your wellbeing.

University of Glasgow researchers asked 91,105 participants, between the ages of 37 and 73, to wear a wrist-work accelerometer for seven days, to enable them to analyze how people's habits affected their circadian rhythms.

The results: One in 25 people were found to be just as active at night as they were during the day, oftentimes because they were on their phones. These people had a 6 percent greater risk for depression and an 11 percent greater risk for bipolar disorder.

These numbers were actually relatively modest in comparison to another recent study, which found that people who stayed active at night were twice as likely to suffer from a psychological disorder and 10 percent more likely to die of any cause, as compared to those who maintain healthy sleep schedules.

Whatever the statistics, the conclusion is clear. Lead author Daniel Smith of the University of Glasgow said its crucial to impose a 10 pm cut-off on all phone usage in order to keep our body clocks in good shape.

It's a central rule to the clean sleeping trend, popularized by Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, which goes as far as to suggest keeping your device out of your bedroom altogether, and suggests reading or meditating as a way of unwinding before bed instead. Though, if that doesn't work for you, you could try out the nascent "coffee napping" trend, or just bone up on our 70 Tips For Your Best Sleep Ever.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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