If our phones were able to talk and we sat them down in a room, I'm pretty sure this would be some of the things they would say.....
'My human is so needy. She never puts me down and is always asking me stupid questions. It baffles me that she can tie her own shoelaces without my help based on the fact she relies on me for everything else!'
'One time my human thought he'd left me at the supermarket. He ran back in a panic going to all the aisles he'd visited and then to the customer help desk all flustered. It took him a few minutes to realise I was tucked away in his inside jacket pocket. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself at how dramatic he gets when I am out of his sight. After our 'separation' he calmed himself down by aimlessly scrolling through Facebook for half an hour just to double check he hadn't missed anything in the five minutes he couldn't find me.'
'Well not only does mine have me at her beck and call but she also has just got another phone! She has two of us now! Two!! I just feel so cheated. She only got the other one because it has more memory for apps, but she won't even use half of them anyway.'
'Well my human never gives me a moment's peace, and he blames me when we get lost because he can't read google maps and the 'blue dot' properly. He also has a habit of pulling me out at inappropriate places, like last week when he was out with a couple of mates at a bar and everyone was having a good chat. He kept me in his hand and was looking at me every two minutes and writing text messages to other people. His friends were looking at me like it was my fault!'
I think if we were to ask them how their humans use them in the bedroom at night before they go to sleep, I'm quietly confident they would all reply in similar ways:
'She uses me to watch a clip on Youtube, and then finding eight other ones in the sidebar she just kept clicking on to the next one, then the next one, then the next one, and ended up falling asleep with the video still playing'
'He just keeps scrolling through Instagram for an hour past when he said he was aiming to go to sleep'
'One time she woke up in the morning and I was still just there, lying on the side of her face, and the TV was still on in the background'
'He wakes up grumpy and tired, and lets everyone know this by picking me up while his eyes are still half closed and updates his facebook status about his misery of a bad night's sleep before he's even got out of bed.'
Do any of these situations sound familiar to your own sleeping habits?
Today's post is basically a public service announcement on behalf of all mobile phones to say: Your phone called, it wants a trial separation...and its keeping custody of the apps!
To clarifiy, this isn't meaning a complete separation from your phone. Based on our jobs and lifestyles, they're now so heavily intertwined and relied upon in our daily lives that for many of us being cut off completely from our mobile could cause us quite a lot of problems.
However, we're now to the point where we are so overconnected and stimulated by these devices that we have now got ourselves into a vicious cycle where we're always 'switched on' at all the times. We allow ourselves to be constantly bombarded by the outside world; other people, the news, articles, whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, and countless other apps that connect us at all hours of the day. We appear to have forgotten how to just be comfortable in switching off.
Why is that?
Are we so scared of our own thoughts that we don't want to be left alone with them anymore?
Going to bed and winding down for the night is one of the most important times to be shutting out the world, its noise and its words. Countless scientists and studies have proven that the blue lights emitted from our phones, tablets and the light from our TV's messes with our sleep and REM cycles. This results in us having disturbed sleep patterns, not getting the adequate number of hours of sleep, accruing sleep debt, waking up not properly rested, and continually tired and drained of energy before the day has even begun. The knock on effect of this will impact hugely on our productivity levels throughout the day. The heavy reliance on coffee that some people need in order to pull them through their work days is a testament to this.
Minus an addiction to coffee, the above used to sum up my daily bedtime routine.
Every night my phone was the last thing I'd put down before I went to sleep. Quite often I'd fall asleep using it and wake up with it in my bed next to me. Ahh, how romantic.
At the beginning of the year I started turning my phone off before I went to sleep. Completely off. I felt disconnected, but in a good way. It was so liberating! I felt free! It was just me in the world, in my bed with no outside distractions coming into my room. I picked up a book (something light and not too stimulating) and would read with a small light on. Rather quickly I started to notice I was much calmer as I felt body and my brain winding down for the day. I was setting myself up properly for my night's sleep ahead of me, and giving myself the best chance to re-charge my energy levels properly for the following day.
How Can You Improve Your Pre-Sleep Routine?
If you have trouble getting a good night of sleep then try turning your phone off, or alternatively putting it on flight mode and then not using it. It's recommended that you ideally don't look at your phone at least an hour before you intend to fall asleep. Try to disconnect. Be tough on yourself. You owe your body the best night sleep you can give it if you're running it ragged throughout the day.
'But my alarm clock is on my phone...'
So there is the perfect solution to that problem. We have these things in shops called alarm clocks, a crazy object that comes in all shapes and sizes that have been solely invented to alarm you in the morning. A cheap one only costs a few quid, go buy one of those.
But if you absolutely must leave your phone on for whatever reasons you have, then a suggestion would be to put it in the hallway. Leave all electronic equipment at the bedroom door or switched off, so that it's just you and yourself in your room. Get used to being comfortable with just yourself, your own company and your own thoughts. You might just surprise yourself.
When I told my friend the subject of this post and about turning your phone off at night his immediate reaction was 'naaah, I couldn't do that!' When I asked him why he said 'well, its just habit I guess....`
We've got into the habit of using our phones at all points in the day and night. It's a learnt behaviour. If you have learnt it, then you can un-learn it. It will most likely be much harder to break the habit than it was to form it. Yet with determination and a plan for how you will make it last in the long-term, you'll be much more likely to achieve the positive change to your bedtime routine that you'd like to see.
Also, give your phones a break too, the damn things deserve it!
*If you would like information on the Business & Personal Coaching services that I offer and pricings, please do go to my Coaching Services page or email me via my Contact page.