As it stands, the most reliable romantic relationship I have is with my cell phone. We spend a lot of time together, watching movies and listening to new albums, but for the past couple of years, I’ve had trouble feeling more rested because I've been practicing the bad sleeping habit of going to bed with my phone, too.
What else is keeping me from getting a great night's sleep? To find out, I spoke with sleep experts Dr. Janet K. Kennedy, PhD, clinical psychologist, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You ), as well as Dr. Ana Krieger, medical director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. They shared with me a bunch of bad bedtime habits that are keeping many people wide awake at night.
From creating a new nighttime routine with meditation and journaling, to trying out a new way to charge my phone out of the bedroom, I learned some great new tips that should jumpstart a healthier sleep pattern for me. I won’t lie, I’ll miss drifting off to the latest cute puppy videos, but I’m not in a hurry to be woken up at two in the morning because my phone just had to tell me someone liked a picture on Facebook or retweeted an old tweet.
1. Reduce Blue Light Damage With a Filtering Phone Screen
iLLumiShield - Apple iPhone 6 Screen Protector Blue Light UV Filter, $10, Amazon
Surfing, texting, or social networking can really interfere with sleep, says Dr. Janet K. Kennedy. Our devices emit blue light that suppresses melatonin, disrupting the body’s natural sleep clock, making it hard to settle in at night. A filtering screen protector reduces the amount of blue light that hits your eyes daily, so it becomes less of a problem at night.
2. Stop Using Your Phone As An Alarm Clock and Go Analog
Westclox Ardmore Twin Bell, $39, Amazon
One of the greatest features of our phones (though they can do just about everything) is the alarm clock app —it's the main reason I keep mine tucked between my pillows. But, with the harmful blue light phones emit, it's best to get them away from you at night. Go all the way retro with a manual alarm clock on your bedside table for a very Mad Men touch.
3. Wind Down With An Adult Coloring Book
Dream Catcher, $6, Amazon
If you miss the feeling of having something to do before bed once you get rid of your tech, take it back to elementary school and pick up this adult coloring book. Dr. Ana Krieger says breaking old sleep habits is all about making a new, healthier before-bed ritual.
4. Charge Your Gadgets Far, Far Away
Cell Phone Dock Charging Station Pad w/ 4 Universal Charging Tips, $85, Amazon
If your gadgets are the primary reason you're up until 2 a.m., do whatever you can to get them out of your room. Set this charging pad up in your kitchen (or anywhere not your bedroom) and let your phones and tablets juice unbothered. No notification is worth getting up at 3 a.m.
5. Leave The Day Behind With Pre-Bed Meditation
Zen Comfort - Memory Foam Seat Cushion, $19, Amazon
Climbing into bed still thinking about that annoying thing that happened at work is a bad habit that too many people have, Dr. Kennedy says. Learning to detach from the day will help you get the best sleep at night. Meditation is a centuries-old practice that helps separate you from stress, and this meditation pillow will get you on your way to zen.
6. If You Can't Shake Your Day Before Bed, Write About It
bloom Vintage Floral Fashion Notebook Journal, $10, Amazon
Sometimes, it really is hard to let go of your day, so instead of trying to ignore it, writing down intrusive thoughts and worries in a simple bullet point list to review the following day can help, says Dr. Krieger. Keeping a journal like this one at your bedside may help empty your mind so that you can go to bed with a clear conscience.
7. Get Rid Of Your Phone A Few Hours Before Bed
You may not have to literally demolish it, but getting rid of your phone an hour before bed will help you sink into slumber a lot easier by helping your brain create the distinction between day and night, Dr. Kennedy says. Technology can blur those boundaries, especially when people bring devices into the bedroom.
8. Curl Up With A Good, Old-Fashioned Book
The Girls: A Novel, $17, Amazon
Both Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Krieger agree that getting into bed with a great work of fiction will make you forget all about your buzzing cell phone. Scour the New York Times Best Seller list for something that'll take your mind off of your day-to-day routine and get you ready for an amazing night's sleep.
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