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Why Checking Your Email in the Evening Can Make It Hard to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Email RISMedia February 4, 2024

Why Checking Your Email in the Evening Can Make It Hard to Get a Good Night's Sleep

If you’re like many people, you have a habit of checking your email shortly before you go to bed. You might respond to a message from your boss, a coworker or a family member, or you might check to see if any pressing issues have to be dealt with. You might think that will help you rest easy, but checking your email at night can actually make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Checking Your Email in the Evening Can Make You Feel Alert and Stressed
If you open your inbox and discover that there’s some sort of problem, your body will produce the stress hormone cortisol, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Even if it’s a minor issue that can wait until morning, it will be hard to put it out of your mind when you’re trying to sleep. 

Checking your email while you’re in bed can have a particularly negative impact on your sleep. It can cause you to associate your bed with work and stress and make you struggle not to think about problems at work or things you have to do the following day.

Even if you don’t find any messages that stress you out, the simple act of checking your email at night can interfere with your ability to sleep. The mere thought that you might receive a work-related email can create stress and anxiety.

The device that you use to check your email is another part of the problem. Electronic devices emit blue light that suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone necessary for sleep. Being exposed to blue light in the evening can make you alert at a time when you’re supposed to be winding down and drifting off to sleep. 

Set a Cut-Off Time for Checking Email
It’s best to avoid checking your email outside of work hours, but your job might require you to do so. If that’s the case, set a firm time when you stop checking email in the evening. It should be at least an hour before you go to bed. Let your colleagues know that you won’t check email after that time, and stick to it.

Follow a Consistent and Relaxing Bedtime Routine
If you currently have trouble falling asleep, create a nighttime routine that will help you relax. It might include reading a book, taking a shower or bath, drinking a cup of tea, doing yoga or meditating. Follow the same routine every night to signal to your body and mind that it’s time to get ready to sleep.


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