Digital devices have become the scourge of sleep.
Around half of all teenagers check their phones after they have gone to bed, according to a new survey.
One in ten admit to checking their phones 10 times during the night.
In response the survey’s authors have come up with 10 rules for digital detox that can help both teenagers and adults alike to get more sleep.
1. Avoid screens before bedtime
Do not use any screens in the 90 minutes before bed.
2. Change pre-bedtime habits
Instead, in the 90 minutes before bedtime, try reading a book, meditating or having a bath.
Social media tends to get you worked up and excited.
For sleep you want the opposite feeling.
3. Reduce exposure to blue light in the evening
Some devices have a “night shift mode” — use it.
Avoid any devices that shine blue light into your eyes in the lead up to bedtime.
4. Set the phone to “airplane mode”
…or similar so that it does not disturb you in the evening.
Some devices can be set to automatically go silent during certain hours.
5. Break the habit
Try to break the habit of checking the device in the evening — especially closer to bedtime and for no reason other than boredom.
6. Phone out of easy reach
Put the phone somewhere that makes it difficult to check.
For example, next to your bed or in the bed makes the temptation all the greater.
Across the room is not so tempting.
7. Is Facebook more important than your health?
Have a think about why you are looking at your phone late at night.
Is it really important?
Is it really worth disturbing your sleep over?
Usually it’s not: much better to improve your health by getting more quality sleep.
8. Curb usage in general.
Try to cut down on non-essential phone usage at all times.
That will make it easier to cut down in the evening as well.
9. How much are you using the phone?
Use apps that tell you how long you have been using the phone.
Two examples are ‘RealizD’ and ‘Moment’.
Reward yourself for following these digital detox rules.
You will reinforce your own improving behaviour.
The survey was conducted for the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference by Digital Awareness UK.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
image from Shutterstock