Part of the reason I don’t sleep well is that I have a tendency to pick up my phone to check something–tomorrow’s weather, blog comments, whatever–and then get distracted by something else. Most often it’s Facebook’s video feature. I’ll tap it and see some video of bloopers from Seinfeld, or a Graham Norton interview. After that, I just keep scrolling. Videos of trucks getting stuck in underpasses. Videos of kids pranking their parents. Some bloopers from The Office. A video of Rainn Wilson grilling Billie Eilish on Office trivia. Twice in the last week, I’ve found myself scrolling for more than two hours doing this. (Once, until 3 am!) It is absurd, and I finally took action to prevent this from happening in the future.
I ordered an alarm clock (this one, if you are interested) for my nightstand. My idea was that from now on, I was going to leave my phone plugged in on my desk in the office. If I wanted to know what time it was, I could look at the alarm clock. If I needed an alarm to wake me (I almost never do) I have one.
I tried this for the first time on Monday night. It took a little planning. That’s because I often use my phone to listen to an audio book before I go to sleep. I didn’t want the phone in my room because of the distractions, but I still wanted to listen to my audio book. What I did, therefore, was download the audio book to my Kindle Oasis. I don’t mind having the Kindle on my nightstand. There are no distractions there except for the thousand or so books I have. At least, there are no silly video distractions. I could lay in bed listening to my book, and when I was ready to go to sleep, set the book aside.
A couple of times I woke, and was tempted to reach for my phone to see what time it was, and maybe check to see if there were any new blog comments, or emails. But the phone wasn’t there, and that delighted me. I’d just have to wait until morning.
One drawback to this is that I often follow along on my Kindle when listening to an audio book–especially a nonfiction book. I thought I could do that on my Kindle Oasis, but apparently, it is either-or. I can listen, but can’t follow along. Or I can read, but I can’t listen. What I did then, was when I came to a passage I wanted to highlight, I’d pause the audio, switch to reading mode, highlight, and then switch back to audio. It’s not elegant, but it works.
As a precaution, I bought two of these alarm clocks. Sometimes, if it is too hot in our room, and if the Littlest Miss crawls into our bed in the middle of the night, I will go downstairs to the guest room to sleep. It is about 12 degrees cooler down there, and that doesn’t count the body heat that the Littlest Miss can put off. In that past, I’d take my phone with me and use the move as an opportunity to take a quick look at email–which would lead inevitably to videos of people falling into swimming pools. Now, have the same alarm clock in the guest room, and my phone stays in my office.
I seem to recall trying this once before, years ago. It wasn’t particularly successful then, seeing as how I’ve bringing my phone into my room at night for as long as I can remember now. So it will be interesting to see how well I can make this work in the long run. The other thing will be to see if my sleep improves at all because of this. I think that will take some time before I can make a call one way or the other. Stay tuned.
P.S.: Hopefully, you didn’t wake up in the middle of the night and pick up your phone to read this post. I’d hate to be the one responsible for keeping anyone else awake.
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