• Increased multiscreening – using two devices at once – may be a key contributor to poor sleep during the pandemic, according to experts
  • More people are watching TV while simultaneously using their phone or working on a laptop than before, as millions have been at home over the last year
  • Sleep scientists and psychologists urge people to combat disruptive light levels caused by technology in order to tackle a steep rise in sleep disruption
  • This follows findings that blue light exposure is one of the top factors behind poor sleep, while multiscreening is also shown to negatively impact memory

An increase in multiscreening – focusing on one screen while sitting in front of another – has seen a steep increase during lockdown and significantly impacts sleep quality, experts warn.

Experts have cited that excessive screen time is a major issue for working professionals, students and parents who’ve been working from home over the last year, based on findings from a brand-new study on national sleep quality.

The WakeUpWell study, conducted by Blinds Direct, analysed light pollution levels, sun hours and mean annual temperatures in key locations to establish which parts of England experience the lowest quality of sleep, and advises Brits on how best to combat it.

Simultaneous media use has sharply risen during the pandemic, as Brits are able to work from the comfort of their sofa while sitting in front of the TV, and are having to pull up meeting notes on their phone while navigating online video conferences with colleagues.

Students will also have seen an increase in screen time, as many classes were held online for the majority of the last year.

In fact, a recent YouGov survey showed that 68% – more than two thirds – of Brits watch TV while using a smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop computer, games console or other device at the same time – despite the negative effects of increased blue light exposure.

As well as proving detrimental to sleep quality due to enhanced blue light exposure, multiscreening is also shown to have an impact on memory, as those who engaged in multiple forms of digital media at once – like watching TV while texting – were found to be more likely to forget information than those who focused exclusively on one screen.

Reducing screen time is therefore essential for Brits to increase their chances of getting a good night’s rest – particularly for those working remotely – as Katherine Hall, Sleep Psychologist, says: “If you have been routinely waking up slightly later since working from home, you may find waking up slightly earlier more difficult.

“With more and more people working from home during the pandemic, the line between ‘work’ and ‘home’ has become a lot blurrier. This may have led to excessive time spent in front of your phone, delaying sleep and impacting sleep quality.”

For Alex Savy, Certified Sleep Science Coach, light levels are the most impactful factor on sleep, as he says: “”To improve one’s sleep quality, you need to control light exposure. Try to get enough daylight by sitting near the window during work or taking walks whenever you can (even on a foggy day, it still might do you some good).

“Additionally, you might want to limit your screen time and, ideally, avoid taking devices to bed. You can use a blue light filter in the evening for extra protection and dim the lights around the house a couple of hours before bedtime.”

Thomas Croft, HR Manager at Blinds Direct adds: “The study has made it evident that it’s not easy to get a good night’s sleep regardless of where you live or what you do for a living, as all cities and regions are exposed to high levels of light pollution.

“With an imminent return to pre-pandemic life, and people returning to work after a long period of working from home, it’s crucial that we prioritise our sleep schedule and ensure our homes are conducive to a high quality of sleep. Whether it’s by investing in blackout blinds, or a new mattress; or limiting screen time.”

To see the full results of the analysis, please visit the #WakeUpWell study here: https://www.blindsdirect.co.uk/wake-up-well 


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