Do you ever wake up in the morning and feel like you need 5 more hours of sleep even though you got a full night’s rest?
It happens to a lot more people than you may think, and there is generally always the same leading factor in this: technology. When your head hits your pillow at night, what is one of the last things you do? You probably lay on your side or prop your head against the back of your pillow, and you scroll through social media getting one last glance at everyone’s days before you finish your own.
According to studies, the reason why you should avoid using anything with a screen at night is that when you are exposed to blue light emitted by your technology, your brain is prevented from releasing melatonin, which is what causes your body to become tired. So, even when you’re exhausted after a long day of work, school, parenting, or just life, your mind won’t register into a rest mode as it should.
If you want to get a better night’s sleep, here are 5 ways you can avoid using your phone before hitting the hay.
Read a book.
With all the time everyone spends on social media and other distractions on technology, they could instead read 200 books a year. Yeah, you read that right. Writer Charles Chu put this to the test a couple of years ago, broke it all down into an equation and applied it to his life. The most remarkable part is that at the end of 2 years, he managed to read over 400 books to prove his point. Now, you don’t need to even come close to following in those footsteps, but wouldn’t it be nice to read more than just your Twitter feed? After you put your phone away at night, break out a book and dedicate an hour, or even just 30 minutes, to some chapters. Set little goals for yourself if that will help you stick to reading more, as the goal of finishing 10 or 20 books by the end of the year. Figure out what works best for you, just make sure you crack open the pages.
Journaling is one of the best ways to clear your head before bed. If you find that when you lie down at night, your mind just begins to race with a to-do list of all the tasks you have to complete, take some time to write it all down and forget about them until the morning. This is also a great exercise in reflecting on not just your day but also your life – you can follow a journal prompt or just let all your ideas hit the page. How was your day? What’s on your mind? What are some goals that you have? What are some aspects of your life that you want to change? Grab a cup of tea, focus on one main topic and let the pen hit paper. You’re going to gain such a clearer outlook on life that will help you sleep better and keep everything in perspective during the daytime, too.
Have a conversation.
If you have a significant other, roommate or maybe even a pet, have a conversation before bed. Talk about how the day went for the two of you and really connect with one another, instead of having your faces buried in your phone. Without the presence of technology, this will help you not only enter a deeper sleep but also grow a deeper connection between you both. Just don’t let the conversation get too long because the last thing you want is to lose sleep after losing track of time. It doesn’t need to be a therapy session (unless the night calls for it, of course), it can just be a time where you unwind and get together.
This one maybe a little bit more difficult for some people because it’s all about clearing your mind and entering a complete state of rest. Intentionally trying to create a blank slate of your brain can be nearly impossible for some, but with the aid of an app at the beginning, your experience with meditation and continued practice, this seemingly unachievable task will become second nature. You may be thinking, “An app? Aren’t we supposed to stay away from our phones?” Yes, but it’s only temporary. Apps such as Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer are all free to download and help you walk through the practice of meditation. You won’t be looking at the screen – you’ll just be listening to a guiding voice. Once you get the hang of it, you can stop using the app and start directing your own thoughts. Practice makes perfect, and patience is key with this one.
Listen to music or a podcast.
This option can be so much more than the use of your phone if you have the proper tools. Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home can hook up to whatever music or podcast platform you enjoy, so to pick just what you want, all you need to do is say the words. If you don’t possess such technology, you don’t have to feel guilty about using your phone or laptop to set up the practice, just don’t continuously stare at your screen. Set up what you want, and then turn the monitor to complete darkness. A blacked-out screen won’t emit any blue light, so it’s not defeating the purpose. Just don’t hop on your phone to set it up then track of yourself and end up forgetting the reason you went on it in the first place. Turn on the song or episode, then turn off the screen.
We hope these methods work for you and lead you to getting a deeper and more restful night’s sleep.