#TACTIX :: How to Wean Smartphone Use at Night

Regulate smartphone use

Smartphones have become a ubiquitous part of our lives, making it difficult to put them down and disconnect. Recent studies show people will check their smartphones every 15 minutes. However, excessive use of smartphones, particularly at night, can have significant consequences on our health, sleep, and well-being. This is particularly worrisome in the evening time. Using your phone before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep and cause serious strain on your eyes. Here are some reasons and tips on how to wean smartphone use at night.

Interference with Sleep Quality

The blue light emitted by smartphones can interfere with our circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. As a result, excessive smartphone use at night can lead to poor sleep quality, which can affect our physical and mental health.

Increased Stress and Anxiety

The constant barrage of notifications, news, and social media can lead to information overload and increase stress and anxiety levels. The fear of “missing out” or not engaging on your favorite social media, online games, or news blogs can keep you in an overhyped state of stress and feeling restless. This can also lead to mobile phone addiction.

Decreased Focus and Productivity

Besides causing increasing anxiousness, people’s ability to focus is interfered with by the compulsion to check app notifications and social media feeds. Spending excessive time on smartphones can lead to decreased focus and productivity, as we become easily distracted and lose track of time.

Physical Health Issues

Holding a smartphone for extended periods can cause neck, back, and eye strain, which can lead to physical health issues over time. Also, most of us are straining our necks forward and not engaged in any form of physical activity. Make sure you continue to exercise. Take regular breaks, stretch, stand up, and move around when using smartphones. If you work in front of a screen, make sure you take a break and look away at least every 30 minutes. Contact Chiropractix if you start to experience neck or joint pain as a result of excess smartphone use.

Steps to cut back on smartphone use at night

Turn off notifications

Turn off non-essential notifications or put your smartphone in “Do Not Disturb” mode to avoid distractions and reduce stress. Hearing the not notification beep arouses curiosity and immediately entices the user to check their phone. You can still set some notifications to remain on, like certain contacts in the event of an emergency.  

Establish a bedtime routine

Create a bedtime routine that involves putting away your smartphone before sleeping. This will help you unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Instead of scrolling through social media, read a relaxing book or magazine, enjoy a conversation with your family, or listen to an audiobook. Developing a fixed bedtime routine lets your mind know and prepare to wind down.

Track screen time

Many apps are available that help you track and limit your smartphone use. You can set daily limits and monitor your progress over time. Apps such as QualityTime or Moment, can track your daily screen time and help you set a specific usage goal.

Avoid using the phone before bedtime

Try to avoid using your smartphone for at least an hour before bedtime, as the blue light can interfere with sleep. Use the blue light filter or the grayscale feature on your smartphone to reduce this effect on your eyes.

Move your phone

Charge your phone outside of the bedroom, away from where you sleep. This will help you resist the urge to check your phone in the middle of the night. Out of sight, out of mind is a formula that should help curb your mobile addiction. Keep all electronic devices, including televisions out of the bedroom area. Avoid using your smartphone as an alarm clock. Purchase and use a regular alarm clock for that.

Get control and stick to the plan

Cutting back on smartphone use at night is essential for improving our physical and mental health, as well as our sleep quality and productivity. Try to plan for other activities rather than becoming glued to your smartphone. Try not to carry it everywhere either – cat videos are cute occasionally, but not necessary for hours at a time.  By following practical steps, you can wean smartphone use at night, take control of your smartphone viewing, and start to experience the benefits of a more connected, balanced life.

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