My cell phone and I are inseparable. Whether I’m working in my office or outside checking the mail, there is virtually nowhere on this planet that my phone and I won’t go together. Yes, even in the bathroom. My phone and I often engage in everything from long Pinterest sessions, to good old-fashioned Facebook “research.”
Yes, I admit that I look at my phone probably more than I look at my own husband. And after already spending so much time staring at a computer during my workday, I realized the added screen time probably wasn’t doing my 30-year-old eyes — or mind — any favors. It was finally after I read an article about the negative effects of using your cell phone in bed, that I started to worry.
According to research published on Business Insider, our circadian rhythm — a.k.a. our body’s internal clock — is regulated by how photoreceptors in our eyes respond to changes in light. Studies suggest that excessive exposure to devices that emit blue lights — like smartphones, laptops, and tablets — is throwing off our sleep cycles. There’s even research that suggests an unbalanced internal clock can also increase our chances of developing certain health concerns like diabetes and breast cancer.
So because I’m open to trying new things in the name of health, I decided I‘d leave my smartphone out of my bedroom at night for 30 days to see if it had any noticeable effect on my sleep. Here’s what happened.
You know the feeling you get when you’ve already left your house only to realize your cell phone is still inside? That’s exactly how I felt without my phone at my bedside every night.
What if someone called with an emergency and I couldn’t hear the phone? What if I missed something hilarious on Instagram? OMG, how would I even know what time it was in the middle of the night?!
I’ll admit there were a few nights, out of habit, I happily took my phone to bed and somewhere deep into a Pinterest browsing session, realized it wasn’t supposed to be there.
How long did I say I would do this for? Thirty days? Damn it! Who do I think I am accepting such challenges?
I tried hard to kick my cell phone addiction with other distractions. I read. I filed my nails. I knitted. I meditated. I adult-colored. Finally, the void wasn’t so painful. I felt as if I could survive the rest of my 30 days.
Less cell phone codependency
The verdict: I can’t say that I’m sleeping better after breaking up with my cell phone at bedtime. But to be fair, I never suffered from insomnia. I can, however, say that putting some limits on my overall screen time has helped my eyes and eased my headaches. I feel more relaxed now that I don’t check my email or bank statements in bed. I’ve also started reading (actual books) more.
Overall, I feel slightly less addicted to my phone, but I certainly have more work to do.