The Dark Side of the Screen: How Doomscrolling Destroys Sleep - SellUp - Blogs

The Dark Side of the Screen: How Doomscrolling Destroys Sleep


In the quiet hours of the night, when slumber should be taking hold, a modern phenomenon known as 'doomscrolling' keeps many eyes wide open and glued to their phone screens.

This compulsive need to consume a never-ending stream of distressing news can have a detrimental impact on the quality of sleep, affecting both iPhone and Android users alike.

The Perils of Pre-Sleep Doomscrolling

Research has consistently shown that screen time before bed is linked to poor sleep quality.

The blue light emitted by phones disrupts the production of melatonin, the hormone that signals our bodies it's time to sleep.

A study by the University of California, San Francisco, found that individuals who used their phone heavily before bed were twice as likely to report inadequate sleep.

Statistics Speak Volumes

According to a survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 85% of adults in the United States use a tech device like a smartphone or tablet within an hour before bed at least a few nights a week.

The Sleep Foundation states that exposure to blue light can decrease sleep duration and quality by as much as 16 minutes.

Moreover, Deloitte's 2020 Global Mobile Consumer Survey reveals that 40% of people check their phones within five minutes of waking up, highlighting the centrality of these devices in our lives, even at the expense of our rest.

Health Implications of Insufficient Sleep

Lack of quality sleep doesn't just leave you groggy—it's linked to serious health issues.

The CDC reports that one-third of US adults don't get enough sleep, contributing to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute warns that sleep deficiency can lead to trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling emotions and behavior, and coping with change.

Reducing and Preventing Doomscrolling

To further reduce and prevent the habit of doomscrolling:
Create a No-Screen Zone: Establish a no-phone policy in your bedroom. Charge devices outside the bedroom to avoid temptation.

Dim the Lights: An hour before bedtime, reduce your exposure to bright light. Use lamps with warm bulbs, which don’t interfere with melatonin production as much as overhead lights.

Relaxing Activities: Develop a pre-sleep ritual involving activities that relax the mind, such as reading physical books, listening to soothing music, or practicing deep-breathing exercises.
Night Mode and Blue Light Filters: If you must use your phone, turn on the night mode or use a blue light filter app to minimize the disruptive effects of blue light on your sleep cycle. Here is an article that offer tips on how to reduce exposure to blue light. 

Mindfulness and Meditation Apps: Utilize apps that encourage relaxation and sleep instead of those that stimulate constant scrolling.

Set App Limits: Use built-in phone features or third-party apps to set daily limits on certain apps, especially social media.

Physical Alarm Clocks: Go old school with a traditional alarm clock to reduce the need to use your phone right before bed or first thing in the morning.

Implementing these steps can help create a healthier relationship with technology and improve sleep quality.
Going Extreme

For a more radical approach to curb phone overuse, consider these strategies:

Grayscale Mode: Switch your phone's display to grayscale. Without the allure of vivid colors, your screen becomes less engaging and can reduce the temptation to keep scrolling.
KaiOS Devices: Switch to a KaiOS-enabled phone, which supports essential apps but discourages prolonged use with its non-touchscreen interface and basic functionality.

Feature Phone: Go back to basics with a feature phone that offers call and text capabilities without the smart functions designed to capture your attention.

App Detox: Commit to a digital detox by using apps that lock you out of your smartphone for set periods, forcing you to take a break.

Tech-Free Zones: Establish tech-free zones or times in your home where smartphone use is not allowed, encouraging more direct interaction and activities.


Doomscrolling before bed is a modern malady with severe repercussions for our health and well-being.

By understanding the risks and taking proactive measures to limit pre-sleep screen time, we can protect our sleep quality.

Isn't it time we all put our phones to bed and let our minds rest?


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