In the past six months I’ve made several changes to improve my health. I started tracking all of my activity with a Fitbit, I committed to more cross-training, I gave up eating meat (more for environmental reasons, but happy to have the health benefits too), and I took a couple of trips to release stress and get back to nature. But one change has had the most profound effect, becoming less captive to my phone.
I have a terrible relationship with my phone. It controls me to a shameful degree. I’m always curious what’s happening with it. Right now I’m writing this blog and I can’t reach my phone and I’m thinking, hmm… maybe I should put my phone next to me. It might need me! I might need it!
In my work I am constantly in contact with other people all over the country. It thrills me when I get an answer to a question or a sale comes through my website. My phone keeps me connected to the outside world and provides information to keep me moving forward. I truly hate and love it at the same time. And while I will most likely always need access to a phone, I have been trying to limit my time with it for mental and physical health reasons.
Which brings me to my latest pro-health change. Sleeping can be a challenge for me. When I’m sleeping I can’t solve problems or dream up ideas. I have to shut it down and wait till the morning to get going again. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep. Nothing feels better than wrapping myself up in big fluffy blankets, relieving my feet and legs from weight and closing my eyes. Physically, it’s the best. Mentally, it’s tough. I almost always wake up in the middle of the night and think of something I should do for work when I get up. In the past I had my phone within arms reach in these moments and I would occasionally just go ahead and get the task done or see what I might have missed during the night. Then I’d lay in bed for an hour trying to release thoughts and go back to sleep.
A few months ago I made a decision that I would no longer look at my phone for any reason in the middle of the night. I was pretty successful, but I still woke up sporadically in the night with thoughts of things to do. Then I’d lay there and decide if it was worth it to break my promise to myself, grab my phone, and get it done. It was tortuous. Usually I didn’t break, although it still resulted in minutes or hours of awake time fretting over my decision.
Finally a few weeks ago I thought how silly it was to be torturing myself like that. The only reason I was considering breaking my promise was because it was so easy to do. The phone was right there seductively standing by in case I needed its luminous aid. So I said to hell with it. I left it in the kitchen—a whole 20 feet away from my bedside, but in another room—and I haven’t woke up once thinking something I needed to do right then was important enough to physically get out of bed and grab my phone.
What have I noticed in the last few weeks? I CAN SLEEP AGAIN!!! I am a terrible sleeper. My Fitbit stats prove it. The arch of sleep on my dashboard is a beautiful array of blues heavily sprinkled with sections of red—red for awake, blues for different stages of sleep. I have to physically be in bed for at least 10 hours to get 8 hours of sleep. Who’s in bed for 10 hours on a consistent basis? Not me.
Since banishing my phone to the kitchen r I have noticed a drastic decrease in number of nights where I’m lying in bed awake at 3 a.m. calculating production orders or wondering if my wording in a particular email came off wrong. Turns out, most of those late night brainstorm sessions are riddled with anxiety and rendered useless by the time my fully awake-self turns on the computer the next morning.
We’re all about positive living at Noya and good sleep is perhaps the most critical element to leading a healthy and happy life. This is why I dedicated an entire blog post to it! Your phone can wait, it’ll be there in the morning. Buy an alarm clock or do what we do in my house and set your alarm on your phone in another room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Whatever you do, make sure your phone is out of arm’s reach when you call it a day and head to bed. It’s probably the easiest way to limit phone access and it’ll have a huge positive effect.