Cell phones are a marvelous piece of technology. These devices changed the way we interact with people, work, and play. Over time, mobile devices have also negatively impacted people’s lives. While this piece of tech creates endless possibilities, it can also turn into a catalyst for bad habits and destructive usage patterns.
You’ve likely heard of recommendations to avoid using your phone within an hour of heading to bed. Many also claim that certain notification sounds can heavily distract people while they work or attempt to stay focused on something productive. You should heed these warnings, as they have some truths to them.
Blue Light and Sleep
There’s been plenty of debate over whether screen use can prevent sleep. The reasoning behind avoiding your phone before resting lies in the circadian rhythm. The argument is that humans, like many animals, can tell when it’s time for bed according to the sky’s color. Apparently, the brain learned to release chemicals like melatonin to help the body fall asleep.
Naturally, before cell phones existed, night meant darkness, and most energy for humans would be needed during the day when the sky was blue. Well, most mobile devices use screens that emit a specific hue that imitates lights you’d experience during the day. As a result, many people inadvertently trick their minds into believing it’s time to get up, hunt, gather, and survive while they’re trying to fall asleep.
Whether this is the primary cause or not doesn’t matter too much; studies show that cell phone use immediately before heading to bed causes sleeping problems. The best way to solve this issue is to avoid your mobile device one hour before dozing off.
How to Avoid Your Phone Before Bedtime
Abstaining from phone use is easier said than done. Phones are often a source of enjoyment, communication, information, and work-related tasks. A good night’s sleep is essential, though, and should be a priority.
There are a few techniques that show promise. The first, and most akin to going “cold turkey” to quit smoking, is to leave your device in another room when you head off to bed. This takes time to get used to, but has seen positive results.
If you can’t stand having your phone out of sight, there’s an interesting alternative. Some say that playing a podcast or soft music from your device can work wonders. For optimal results, you’ll want to leave it out of arm’s reach and ensure silence mode is activated; the last thing you want is a loud ringtone while you’re trying to sleep.
Monitoring and Limiting Overall Usage
If your sleep pattern is fine, but you struggle avoiding your phone during the day, consider a strict schedule. There are three paths you can take to effectively reduce screen time with an organized set of time slots or restrictions.
There are applications that can track and monitor the time you spend on your phone. They’re handy for finding which applications are the culprits of keeping your attention for too long. Some can organize different programs by usage time. Many also have the ability to silence certain apps and their notifications during specific hours of your day.
A unique feature you should look out for is app locking. There are applications that can limit your access to others. This can help you avoid spending too much time on your phone.
Different User Logins
If an app lock makes you feel a bit uncomfortable or anxious, consider creating a separate user login for your device. You can install all the programs for leisure on one account and leave the production apps on your primary. When you need to stay focused, log on to the latter to avoid becoming easily distracted.
The third approach you can take to avoid excessive screen time is through a personalized schedule. It’s a simple concept, but it requires more self-discipline than the alternatives. The first step is to plan out your week and the time slots for every day.
Next, find the best moments to spend on your phone for leisure. Consider using what would normally stand as free spaces in your schedule.
Just a Start
These recommendations for avoiding serious consequences from excessive time spent using a mobile device are proven techniques, and usually provide excellent results. However, you should always try to experiment and test different methods when possible.