“What we choose to focus on and what we choose to ignore play in defining the quality of our life.” — Cal Newport
Let me guess. You know that sleep is our human superpower, and you’ve read all the sleep advice. You know the benefits of lower room temperature, less light in your bedroom, and waking up at the same time every day, and yet, your sleep is still restless.
Maybe you struggle to fall asleep. Maybe you wake up in the middle of the night, with racing thoughts on your mind. Or maybe you roll around in the morning feeling stressed, unrested, or anxious.
By implementing standard sleep advice, you might increase your sleep quality, but this probably won’t be enough. For elevating your sleep hygiene, buy an alarm clock, and abandon your phone from your sleeping room.
Three of the most damaging effects of using your smartphone in your bedroom:
- You lose time
- You lose focus
- Your sleep quantity and quality drops
My cell phone’s alarm woke me for a decade. It wasn’t until I read studies (like this one, this one, or this one) on the downsides of smartphone use that I abandoned my phone from my sleeping room. I have never used my smartphone’s alarm since.
In this comprehensive, short article, I’ll show you how to outsmart technology by replacing your smartphone’s alarm function with an alarm clock.
The Bad Influences of Your Smartphone in Bed
1. You Lose Time
The average person needs 7–9 hours of sleep every night. Scientists have proven that one can’t catch up on sleep “later.”
„The shorter you sleep, the shorter your life span.”
— Matthew Walker
While we know we need around 8 hours of sleep; we sometimes forget that there’s a difference between sleeping and being in bed.
When was the last time you used your phone in bed? When did you scroll through your favorite app instead of sleeping?
It’s not your fault. Engineers designed Instagram, Facebook (and even Medium) to retain your attention for as long as possible. A well-intended “I’ll just text my friend,” habitually leads to infinity scrolls.
A minute becomes 5, then 10, then 30 minutes — precious time you’d better be sleeping. Checking your phone in bed is a stimulating, sleep-harming activity.
While engineers designed apps that hook your attention, it’s up to you when you let technology trick you in. You are in power to change scrolling time for sleeping time.
2. You Lose Focus
World-class performers in any field rely on affirmation, meditation, and visualization. These persons treat the time before and after sleep like treasures.
Meanwhile, a study from IDC Research showed 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. Instead of starting and ending your day, focusing on your thoughts, you prioritize the social media fluff of others.
Do you really want to fall asleep or wake up contemplating the latest post on your newsfeed?
Bestselling author Ryan Holiday explains why he protects his focus and time from his phone:
“Because it’s my life and it’s ticking away every second. I want to be there for it, not staring at a screen. Now some mornings, if I am writing, I might not touch my phone until lunch. On those days, I’m happier and more productive.“
3. Your Sleep Quantity And Quality Drops
We need the sleep hormone melatonin to fall asleep. Meanwhile, science discovered the light from our phones suppresses melatonin. Smartphone light has an impact on sleep.
This study showed consistent, robust evidence of an association between access to the use of devices and reduced sleep quantity and quality, as well as increased daytime sleepiness.
How an Alarm Clock That’s Not Your Clock App Improves Your Sleep Health
1. You Gain Time
With an alarm clock, you don’t need to keep your phone next to you while sleeping. You won’t have the option to start scrolling before you sleep and after you wake up. Eventually, you won’t lose precious sleeping time anymore.
“No person hands out their money to passersby, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives! We’re tightfisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.”
2. You Gain Focus
You decide how to spend the precious time before and after sleep. You can start and end your day without glancing at your phone and, instead, focus on what matters to you.
“What we choose to focus on and what we choose to ignore, play in defining the quality of our life.”
— Cal Newport
By abandoning your phone from your bedroom, you can implement new bedtime and morning rituals. What do you want to be doing the last thing in the evening and first thing in the morning?
My bedtime ritual is reading. In bed, I can either sleep or read. That’s how I read one book per week for two years. My phone-free morning routine starts with oil pulling, a big glass of warm water, stretching, and a 15-minute meditation. Then I dress and write. I turn on my phone when I leave for work at around 7:15 AM.
3. Your Sleep Quantity and Quality Increases
Since your screen’s blue light won’t suppress your melatonin levels, you’ll fall asleep easier.
By using an alarm that’s not your clock app, your phone can go in the other room, and with your phone in a different room, you can’t check it at night. You won’t know if you get a text message or an email. You won’t scroll through your social apps.
Eventually, your sleep quality and quantity increase, which is crucial as sleep improves your ability to learn, resets your emotions, restores your immune system, optimizes your metabolism, and regulates your appetite.
Creating a New Habit
Transitioning from your smartphone’s alarm to a classic alarm sounds easy? It is. But change only happens from taking action. So if you’re serious about improving your sleep hygiene, order an alarm clock. Now.
Getting an alarm clock is the fastest way to abandon your phone from your sleeping room. I promise it’s the $5–50 best-invested dollars. You won’t have an excuse to sleep with your phone on your nightstand.
“Some mornings will be easy. The sun will shine, and you’ll feel good. Other days will be much darker. You can’t control everything that happens to you. You can, however, make some changes to wake up feeling a little bit brighter.”