Not in the Bedroom

by Sebastian Slovin

Does this look familiar? It certainly did for my partner Sonya and I. For a long time this was our typical routine before bed (and often first thing in the morning). This wasn’t a routine we intentionally chose, it just sort of happened over time in a sneaky ninja like way.

The photo above is by Erik Pickersgill in his collection Removed. His work provides interesting commentary on how our relationship with technology impacts our relationships with each other.

It's so easy to get into the habit of scrolling through social media or surfing the web before going to bed. While that can be a fun and a nice distraction before going to bed, the drawbacks to this habit are many. At the top of the list, in my experience, is the relational distance that occurs when one or both parties are locked into their phone and not present. Once we became more aware of this dynamic and how it was negatively impacting us, we started exploring some options to change our behavior by creating more boundaries around our phone use before bed.

Of course, any sort of change is difficult and uncomfortable. Sonya took the lead on solutions to our nighttime phone habit. As soon as she started coming up with solutions, I found myself coming up with many reasons why I needed my phone with me at night. Thoughts and questions like: If I don't have my phone what am I going to do right before bed? I need my phone because it’s my alarm clock. What if there’s an emergency and someone needs to get ahold of us? These are valid points and worth consideration. However, as I (and we) examined them further there seemed to be no end to the reasons why I felt I needed my phone with me. The resistance was strong and while I wasn’t comfortable with disconnecting from my phone at the end of the day it’s something I/we wanted to change.

After looking over a variety of options, we decided the best way for us was to keep our phones out of the bedroom completely. This may not work for everyone but we'd recommend it. What did we do first? We bought an alarm clock.  There is a wide variety out there.  We decided to go with the Sunrise Alarm Clock. It’s reasonably priced and easy to use. Then, we created a little phone-zone-cubby in our living room. Basically, it was a place for our phones to be away and charging while we slept. And that’s it. The results have been wonderful, in many ways. We are sleeping better, are less distracted, and are more present with each other both before bed and first thing in the morning.

If being locked into your phone before bed is an issue for you, I’d highly encourage exploring this tactic or different ways to unplug before bedtime. Whether you’re sleeping solo or with a partner, the benefits highly outweigh the discomfort of not having your phone with you 24/7. Also, we’d love to hear your experience with this. Feel free to comment below or share on our Facebook page.