Your phone is a vessel of your life’s extension. It is a repository of your emails, projects, to-do lists, and source of your problems and stress. Pressing work emails, 99 unread messages from our friends' group chat, and unsettling push notifications from a local news channel should not be the last things we see at night or the first to greet us in the morning.

As creatures of habit, we can't help ourselves scrolling down the news feed of our social media accounts, or double-tapping hearts on our friend’s photos while getting ready to sleep. In more ways than one, we also find ourselves checking emails late at night which can keep our minds buzzing with concerns that we want to tackle instead of winding down for the night. Excessive screen time can affect our mental and physical health. Smartphone addiction is an ugly truth for many.

Screen time greatly impacts melatonin production in our bodies. Melatonin is also known as the hormone of darkness which requires darkness to do to its magic and induce sleep. Our smartphones emit blue light which suppresses our urge to sleep.

Let's try to make an effort to disconnect from our screens before bedtime to help us sleep better and to wake up feeling more refreshed. Below are the creative and simple ways to unplug and disconnect so we can sleep better.

 

Go old-school with an old-fashioned alarm clock

girl with analog alarm clock

Most of us sleep with our phones right next to us because we use them as an alarm to wake up. If we are keeping our phones in our bedroom, it means our brains aren’t fully shutting down and it is not readying itself for an optimal night’s rest. How do we fix this? Get an old-fashioned alarm clock!

Trust us, this is one of the secrets to getting better sleep.

 

Swap your phone for a pen and paper

girl writing on her diary

We’ve all been there, an idea or a chore we forgot about pops in our head and we immediately pull out our phones to jot it down. Avoid defaulting to our habit of pulling out our phones, and keep a pen and paper handy by the nightstand.
You can also try writing a journal before going to sleep. This can help direct our mental energies and helps us reflect on our day and on ourselves. That’s more me time for you. Keeping a journal helps us become more conscious of our thoughts and actions vs increasing our social media consumption. Health is wealth and your mental health is a part of it.

 

Digital assistants, at your service

echo dot

Trying to sleep is like a never ending drive. We’re bombarded by flurry of things that happened today, things that will happen the next day and things that we need to do. Our smartphone is usually the solution to keep track of these things but having an Echo Dot in our bedroom is a good way of entering all that information. We can dictate notes and ideas while staying tucked in. We can avoid excessive screen time in the evening without losing great ideas.

 

Zero Tech Bedtime

hand reaching for cell phone on nightstand

It can be a struggle at first but practicing a zero tech bedtime will help us avoid checking our phones first thing in the morning. How? We can use the Do Not Disturb mode feature or activate Quiet Mode on Facebook to limit screen time. These features come in handy. We don’t need to turn off our phone notifications because our phone does it for us.

If these features don’t work for you, we can simply just keep our phones turned off the whole night. This helps us dedicate time just for sleep while also saving our battery life as we sleep. Your phone will thank you for it. Sidebar, did you know that if you keep your phone charging the whole night, your battery life shortens. Relying on these modes allows us to help you wind down before bedtime.

Another way to keep our phones outside our bedroom is to leave them downstairs. Families can practice this to limit the screen time for the kids. We can designate a docking station for our phones to charge or keep them in a basket where we can retrieve in the following day. We can also turn off our laptops or set the phones to airplane modes. The screens stay off until we are ready to start our day in the morning.

 

Use warm lights

 lamp next to bed

Parting with your phone can be a struggle for workaholics. There’s a trick to condition yourself that it is time to unwind and get ready to bed. Sleep hormones can be released by switching your phone to night mode which will automatically change to warmer colors.

Melatonin hormones control our body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. There are specialized photoreceptors in our eyes that send information back to our brains which trigger melatonin production. PubMed Central researchers found that blue and white lights negatively impact babies and children because they have greater melatonin suppression. According to a Healthline article, it is advisable to avoid blue light and the use of warm colors for night lights.

Try these tips to help you disconnect from your screens, improve your body clock, and get quality sleep. The most important thing is that we can all wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested if we learn to reconnect with our inner selves.