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For the past seven years, I have used my iPhone as my alarm clock. Every night I climb into bed with my phone and begin my final scroll through my social media feeds. I respond to emails one last time. And maybe post a picture of my cat. And probably just one last Instagram check. One more email. One more text. Did that photo I posted get any likes? I’ll check, just one more time.
Sound familiar? I’m not the only one who does this. I went from a book-in-bed kind of gal to spending hours responding to work emails late into the night, crushing candy, and ignoring the snuggles of boyfriends and pets. For years. In a 2012 Time/Qualcomm poll, almost three-quarters of those polled took their phones with them to the bedroom. And that was four years ago.
Was the alarm clock really so bad?
Here are the top five reasons to leave your phone out of the bedroom when you check in for the night:
Leaving your phone in another room gives your brain the room to do something else. Whether that’s engaging in pillow talk with your person or just decompressing from the day, the bedroom should be a space where work does not follow you. The sooner you draw the “when I will respond to an email” line, the sooner people will begin to respect it. Plus, research out of Stanford shows that above a certain threshold, you’re getting less and less out of every hour you work. Save it for the next day when you’re fresh.
If you want to fall restfully asleep, exposing yourself to the blue light of a device is not the way to do it. Even if it seems like that game lulls you off to dreamland, the quality of your sleep is decreased by that blue light exposure. Dr. Adrian Williams, professor of sleep medicine, says, “the influence of light on hormonal responses is minimal in the day, but maximal in the evening when it may suppress melatonin secretion and delay sleep.” Save that blue light for when there’s also natural light. (Or, if you’re an Apple addict, upgrade to iOS 9.3 where the new feature Night Shift adjusts the colors in your display to be on the warmer end of the spectrum based on the time of day. Fancy.)
How many times have you looked at your partner to see them scrolling mindlessly on their phone, eyes dead, slouched into the digital holding position of poor posture? And how many times have you seen that and thought, “damn, I would.” You wouldn’t! There’s nothing sexy about watching someone Gollum over their Instagram feed. Taking your phone to bed will not only decrease the chances of sexy time even starting, but it will decrease the chance of sexy time being interrupted by a text or call. Do you really want to explain why Alex from the office is texting you at 11pm mid-coitus? No. And go to bed, Alex. We already explained why you shouldn’t be working that late.
If your first reaction to this article was, “I could never leave my phone in another room all night,” then you probably need to, because you are addicted to it. According to Dr. Gregory L. Jantz, if you feel “anxious or uncomfortable” even considering leaving your favorite habit in another room, it’s time to reassess your relationship with it.
When your alarm goes off in the morning and you pick up your phone to turn it off, that’s it—you’ve begun your day in the digital void of FOMO and social envy. Instead of waking up and seeing what Instagram photos happened overnight, why not chill on the endless scroll and meditate instead? You can skip the ten minutes of social media catch-up and give yourself the space and calm to get through the day.