It’s been a few weeks that our family has been trying this little adventure of no-more-cell-phones-in-the-bed. Let me give you a little background…
I have a love/hate relationship with my smart phone. As a work at home mom, I love it. I run most of my business from my cell phone. I can listen to webinars while pushing my kid in his stroller or message a client while sautéing onions or connect with my teammates on the fly. I also love that Atticus can FaceTime his PaPa in the middle of a long day (yes, we use “PaPa” instead of “Dada”… what can I say, my husband has a massive beard and “PaPa” just fits). And let’s be real, sometimes scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram is just the kind of 2-minute break I need. My phone is like a little magic window reminding me that there is life beyond my four walls. It’s a portal into other dimensions where there’s not smoothie art smeared on my cabinets or two loads of laundry piled on the couch or dirty dishes covering every inch of countertop… A place of world news, clever articles, artistic DIYs (some of which are actually doable!) and other living, breathing people who are interesting, potty-trained, and speak my language. Oh yes, I love my smart phone.
But I also hate it. Sometimes those 2-minute Insta-breaks turn into 20 minutes. Sometimes scrolling through newsfeeds becomes an autopilot type of habit that isn’t even enjoyable any more. Sometimes I catch myself and I think “Why am I doing this?” It’s like my thumb knows to keep swiping, even when there’s nothing worth reading. Too often I lay in bed, scrolling and swiping, and I spot my twice-renewed library books sitting on my dresser and I know I could have read them all by now. And I see my kid snoozing next to me… and I think “I don’t want him to remember me like this.”
Here’s the deal – I’m all for technology. It has its place. And in my world, it’s a pretty big place. But somehow the image of my kid falling asleep every night watching my face aglow in the light of my phone screen breaks.my.heart. It’s not what I want. I want him to see me reading, caught up in a good book. Or drawing or writing. Or maybe just lying down and resting. (And if you’re wondering – yes, my kid sleeps in our room with us. Because of this, it does happen that he wakes up sometimes and sees me curled up with my phone…)
So my husband and I decided to make a change. Instead of charging our phones next to our bed each night, we charge them in other rooms. We may do one last Facebook check or Clash of Clans battle (10 points if you can guess which one of us does which…), but then we put our phones into other rooms for the night. Here’s why we decided to make the change:
- We want to sleep better. Numerous studies show that cell phone use at night can inhibit deep, restful sleep. This is something we’ve known for a while, but just never bothered to try changing.
- We want to quit hitting the snooze button. It’s an added bonus – when the morning phone alarm goes off in the other room I am much more likely to stay awake after turning it off. Something about having to physically get out of bed and walk halfway across the cold house… 😉
- We want to make more time for other things. Like reading. Or talking to each other.
- We want to set a good example for our son. Studies show that adolescents who use electronic devices in their bedrooms have poor sleep patterns. I know my kid is years away from being an adolescent, but I’d rather start him off with good habits now then try to correct a bad routine down the road.
- We want to be self disciplined. Putting our cell phones in a different room at night seems simple enough. But it’s also a challenge. We’re creating new habits and breaking old ones. It’s not easy! But I know that small acts of self-discipline will lead to the capacity for bigger acts of self-discipline.
Like I said, we’ve been doing this for a couple weeks now, so it’s starting to become more of a habit. It hasn’t always been easy and sometimes my husband and I have to remind each other to put our phones away. I’m still working on picking up my books and reading again (sometimes my brain is so tired at the end of the day that I just want to zone out!), but I’m glad we made the switch. It’s a tiny thing. But tiny things can be a big deal.
How about you? Do you take your cell phone to bed with you? Why or why not?