Our family has recently undergone what I like to call the "Captain Fantastic Revolution". We watched this riveting movie (about a modern day family that lives in
deep connection to the earth, and almost no digital technology). In the days following my husband and I took a good look at how we could consciously create a healthier connection to screens and technology. We wanted to set new boundaries for ourselves and our kids so that we could root in to what's important in real life instead of this illusory world online.
The effect has been amazing! In the month since we dropped our social media apps and limited evenings to "real life" activities so many things have changed - I get a TON of stuff done that has been on my list; baby books are updated, handwritten letters, dates with friends, cooking, planning adventures, and my house has never been cleaner (who knew social media took time away from dusting?!). But the most important change for me has been SLEEP!! I now sleep so much better, and I thought I had pretty good sleep hygiene before.
It's true: our devices sabotage sleep. In the past I put my head in the sand when confronted with the growing facts (there's nothing I love more than snuggling up with a screen and endlessly scrolling). However, I am able to be more honest now about technology's impact on my sleep and I'm making some changes. You can too - it is especially important to take a break from disruptive tech when you need your Zzzzzz's.
Blue Light Blues
You've heard it before and you'll hear it again: the blue light emitted by devices suppresses melatonin production. Sleep doctors recommend taking a break from ALL screens at least an hour prior to bed.
Brain Can't Turn "Off"
In addition to blue light affecting our sleep hormones, our devices also stimulate the brain and keep us from feeling tired, or distract us so much we don't notice or respond to our tired signs. As with babies, we should be watching ourselves for eye-rubbing, yawning and fussiness so that we know when to go to bed. But between the exciting plot lines, twitter feeds and engaging articles we miss these vital cues and end up getting a "second wind" in to the wee hours.
As if those two offenses weren't bad enough, our devices wake us up once we do get to sleep. Most of us have fully embraced the sleep mode on our phones so we are not awoken the middle of night by bells, chimes, and whistles. However, I occasionally encourage clients to make evenings "quiet time" and adjust your sleep mode to start at 5:30 or 6pm, whenever you sit down to dinner so that you can mindfully appreciate your time without every vibration pulling you out of the here and now.
Check out the Sleep.org site for more Technology Tips about sleep!
If seems like a good fit (it's not for everyone), watching Captain Fantastic might inspire you like it did us. Shut down your screen and climb a tree in this beautiful spring-time weather!