It's intuitive that screen time before bed affects how we sleep, but getting under the covers without having our phones within reach might feel borderline impossible. Perhaps it’s because we don’t understand what our phones are actually doing to our bodies:
Your phone is messing with your internal clock
The light from your phone, particularly Blue Light, can inhibit your production of melatonin, the hormone that helps control your internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm.
It’s insanely addictive
Notifications from our phones release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good and derives pleasure. This signal to our brain’s reward center, paired with an endless amount of content, trains your brain to repeat the behavior of checking your phone for more—rather than winding down to rest.
It increases anxiety
With so many options to click, like, scroll and more, phones often eat away at your total time your body needs to recover from a stressful day. Further, all that content you’re absorbing stimulates your mind and makes it anxious; one facet of the well-documented relationship between phone use in bed and insomnia.
And it makes it harder to get up in the morning
Not only is it harder to get out of bed after a bad night’s sleep, but checking your phone first thing in the morning can also massively delay your morning start time.
If leaving your phone outside the bedroom entirely feels like too much of a struggle, start small. Before you know it, you’ll be shopping for an analog alarm clock and reclaiming the bedroom for your health and recovery:
Turn down your phone’s blue light by putting it in Dark Mode
Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Dark. Play around with the options and automatic features so that your phone will make the switch for you each night.
Switch on Do Not Disturb mode an hour before bed
This way, texts and notifications won’t trigger your reward center in the brain, even as you’re winding down for the night. Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb and play around with the Scheduled feature to stay consistent. If you’re worried about missing an important call or text, you can make an exception for your Favorites or Repeated Callers. You can even set up an auto-reply.
Start small before going the distance
Practice moving your phone further and further away from you each night until it’s fully out of reach. If you’re guilty of sleeping with your phone under your pillow, try moving it to your nightstand or the floor first. Then maybe the outlet furthest away from you, your bathroom or another room entirely.