In September, I wrote a post on changing a habit that was taking up a lot of my precious time and energy–usage of the smartphone for nothing but passing time. It was taking a toll on my eye-health apart from wasting my time, which was leaving me irritated with myself.
I did a follow-up post after a month where I wrote about how I had worked on changing the habit and succeeded to quite an extent and benefitted from the experience. Of course, my love affair with the smartphone hasn’t completely ended, which is the reason I am participating in this Challenge along with my blogger friend Ashvini Naik
The 7 day detox — Smart Nights Challenge!
As part of this challenge, I will have to follow my own rules about phone use for 7 days. After that, I will have to make a conscious effort to stay true to my rules and make sure it becomes a habit. Thankfully, because of my earlier post, I could make some changes due to which my affair with the gadget isn’t a “torrid” one, anymore. I don’t need it by my side all day or night.
5 CHANGES I MADE IN MY SMARTPHONE USAGE:
1. I switch off the Wi-Fi of my phone by 9/9:30 pm and switch it on only in the morning, by 9 am, after completing some of my morning chores, my Yoga and breakfast.
2. I never take the phone to bed with me, the reason being it is dangerous placing your phone on the bed, or under your pillow as you sleep.
3. I keep the phone’s volume to its lowest, and place it on a stool by my bedside in case mom or someone from the family calls up at night.
4. I carry the newspaper to bed, to solve puzzles before I sleep. Actually, it is solving the puzzle that puts me to sleep. Either that, or a book. Reading induces sleep faster.
The blue light that our phones emit keeps our brain awake and alert. And, to fall asleep at night, you need something that will calm the brain, not keep it on high alert! Not just the light, but the action on our screen awakens our brain.
5. During the day, I take frequent breaks from the phone by switching off the Wi-Fi every couple of hours. For example, while writing, reading, helping my nephew with his studies and in the evening, when I step outside for a walk.
I often see walkers peeping into their phones even during their walk. They hardly pay any attention to the world around or to their breathing! What’s the point of the walk if you can’t leave the virtual world aside for sometime and enjoy nature?
So, these frequent breaks from the phone do me a world of good. The constant pings of the numerous notifications, the constant need to check what’s going on out there, the staring at the images as I scroll aimlessly–the absence of it all gives me immense peace.
There are times, though, especially when hubby is to return home late and I have no book to read or movie to watch and still have to stay awake till he arrives, when I do scroll through the Facebook News feed, or Instagram. But, because it strains my eyes and bores me after a point, I put it away soon.
Now that I have taken up this 7 day challenge, I will get an opportunity, and some motivation, to work harder at keeping the phone away. I know I need to do this– for my eyes and for my peace of mind.
As part of the challenge, I will continue doing what I have been doing these past couple of months and some more, and then do another follow-up post next year on how helpful the detox has been for me. Why don’t you join me, too, dear readers?
If I haven’t been able to convince you to make some changes in your phone habits by all that I shared above, let me highlight the reasons why you need to give yourself a break from your phones at night.
5 reasons why you need to put the phone away at night
1. Our brain is used to sleeping at night. It needs some rest, too, you know? But the blue light that the our gadgets emit can awaken the brain.
2..Falling asleep after scrolling through can get difficult because not only did the light awaken the brain, but the moving scenery in front of your eyes leaves the brain asking for more such excitement. Have you noticed how you get pulled into the whirlpool once you begin mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed? How the time flies and before you know it, you have been staring at your phone screen for an hour!
3. Due to the above reasons, the brain finds it almost impossible to calm down and fall asleep and you tend to stay awake longer even as the world around dozes peacefully.
4. This sleep deprivation leads to a dull and dazed you who wakes up with a heavy head and an irritable mood.
5. The strain on the eyes caused by all the staring at the blue screen in the darkness shows its effects in the form of dry eyes, blurred vision and a pain around the eyes. To learn how staring at the screen constantly leads to pain, move your eyes in a circular motion and you will know.
Our wellbeing is our responsibility. If we don’t understand how our habits affect our health, who will? If we don’t take precautions now, we will be the ones to suffer from the ill-effects at a latter stage, when rectifying the issue might not be possible.
Let’s make a pact to take control of our lives, make changes in our lifestyles and lead healthier lives. After all, this is the only life we have!