What happens when I put down the phone?
We are all guilty of it. At the dinner table. In the bathroom. In the car (not while driving, please!). In bed- Oh my!!! The smart phones are with us everywhere. I don’t know about you but I get annoyed at myself when the cell phone becomes an extension of my hand. Scrolling through my Insta-feed. Liking baby photos on FB, reading articles… while I am watching TV!!! It is too much.
I was watching the morning news a few weeks ago and they were running a story about what happens to children when you allow them as much screen time as they want. After 2 or 3 days these poor kids were having major meltdowns, weren’t sleeping, and were experiencing hyperactivity followed by lethargy, in rapid cycles. It made me wonder: if it has these effects on kids, wouldn’t have similar effect on us?
Recently, I decided to set some boundaries around my cell phone usage. I vowed to put the phone away at 8:30 every night. Here is what happened:
I am not as irritable
Smart phones are amazing. We have access to more information (real and fake news) than ever before, right at our finger tips. The issue is that it is too accessible. It is so easy to fall down the rabbit hole and end up on some website about butt implants (true story) with no idea how you got there. I don’t know about you but it feels like it scrambles my brain. Feeling unfocused and overstimulated leaves me feeling fried. Since I have reduced my usage I feel much more focused and, dare I say, happy!
I am having more intimacy
This is a complaint that I hear from my clients in nearly every session. One partner is ALWAYS on their phone, leaving the other feeling resentful, disconnected, unimportant and annoyed. I don’t know what the research says, and truthfully, I don’t care. I care about what my experience is and how things affect me, personally. When I use my phone in bed it kills my desire to connect with my husband… on any level. I become distracted, thinking about all of the things going on in the world (all at one time).I feel overstimulated and apathetic, all at the same time. When we both lay in bed staring at our phones its game over. Now when we get in bed after a long day we can decompress, talk to each other, snuggle and reconnect.
I am reading… books!
I remember, as a kid, going in to my parent’s room and they would be in bed reading a book. That feels so cozy to me. I really don’t want my kids to remember coming into my room with me staring at my cell phone. It is so much nicer and more relaxing to pick up a book and read a few pages to lull me into a deep slumber. Plus, the quality of what I am reading is far superior to anything I am reading on my Facebook feed.
I am sleeping better
Some say it is the blue light that disrupts the sleep patterns and decreases our melatonin production. Some say it is the overactive firing of the neurotransmitters. All I know is that since I stopped gluing my eyes to the screen in bed I am getting much better sleep quality. I am having an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. There is nothing better than waking up feeling rested and ready for the day.
Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a piece of cake. There were times where I really wanted to check an email really quick, or fact check my husband on some stupid bit of info. But it got exceedingly easier each evening. It feels nice to distance myself from something that I feel so conflicted about. I will most definitely continue to limit my screen time each evening. So worth it!