Studies show that being on your phone while in bed or watching television in your bedroom causes insomnia. I've been told that the bed itself should only be used for two things – sleep and sex.
I've recently wondered why this is. Again, research shows that it's the blue light coming from these products of technology that keeps us awake. Our eyes gravitate to the blue light because it has the shortest wavelength in all of the colors; as well, it probably doesn't help that we receive all of our information from these products.
Not to mention that we are always on our phones, laptops, and tablets. These tech products make information easily accessible whether it is through social media or online publications. One Google search reveals pages and pages of results that will probably have you scrolling all night.
My stance is one not derived from research (maybe someone who is majoring/studying psychology will read this though and write about the relationship between stress and the effects of blue light). My stance is based on experience.
Most of the time, my ideas for writing and other endeavors come right before I fall asleep. In the past, I would've grabbed my phone and, bringing it very close to my face, would write or research the topic in which I was interested.
However, the topic would become an obsessive thought – or I would get distracted by a social media post and scroll endlessly. It would then be three in the morning and I would not be tired whatsoever.
It wasn't until this past year that my sleep improved. I started to set a sleep timer that would notify me an hour before my curfew (yes, I'm in my twenties and I abide by it religiously). I would promptly set aside my phone and lay in bed. Even when I was restless, I wouldn't pick up my phone.
It also prompted me to lessen the time I spent listening to music. I had the nasty habit of listening to songs – pop, rock, anything really – while I would sleep. Because of this, I'm pretty sure that I had the most minutes spent on Spotify than anyone else in my family.
I started to do more things outside like taking my dog on a long walk, doing yardwork, and hiking. I know people complain that "Florida's hot and humid – I don't know how or why you do it." It's because I spend most of my work hours in front of a computer. I need a break from all the blue light.
As well, I've started to spend either a full day or, at the very least, perform one activity without my phone by my side. Forcing myself to not check my phone while sketching, embroidering, or running made me conscious of who I was doing it for and why I was doing that activity.
Running was interesting without my phone; we are all used to tracking ourselves. We want to listen to music. Running made me pay attention to the movement of my body, the physiology of it and the beauty. Without my phone to find my pace or distance, I realized that I was doing it to enjoy the activity more.
Although technology has been great to judge and observe things that would've been impossible without, it has influenced a society that is always on their phones, always on the computer. Our intellect is expanding thanks to the wealth of information available now to everyone everywhere – but at what expense?
I challenge you to put down your phone right now. Devote your attention to an activity, a friend, or a family member that does not involve using your phone. Go to the grocery store and shop for your favorite foods without looking at your phone; take a pilates class at your gym. Or you can just chill at the local park by yourself or with a friend to enjoy nature.
Make it a mission to put down your phone or step away from the computer. Immerse yourself in life without these screens holding you back. You'll feel a little less inhibited and more mindful when you do.