Are you ever just lying in bed, frustrated that you can't seem to fall asleep? Or worse, you don't feel tired, even in the slightest, while 20 minutes ago you were struggling to keep your eyes open? If so, it is likely you can improve your bedtime process.
In this post, we will look at revamping your night-time routine through the lens of digital health (of-course).
Here are some practices to implement into your night-time routine:
1. Implement the 30 minute rule
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you should stop using electronic devices, like your cellphone, at least 30 minutes before bedtime. There are two primary reasons for this. First of all, the blue light that your phone emits closely resembles sunlight and this throws off your body's biological clock. Essentially, your brain is tricked into thinking it is day-time and that you should be awake. Second, when you are preparing for sleep you should try to get into a relaxed headspace. It is fair to say that scrolling through Twitter and consuming controversial, polarizing, or viral content is usually far from relaxing.
Note that although the 30 minute rule is a great method, as with any best practices, different variations that work better for different people! For example, many of our gems pair the 30 minute phone-off rule with an hour long Opal scheduled session prior to powering down. But some of our gems find that a night-time Opal session works perfectly well!
2. Consider leaving your phone charging outside the bed room
Reducing the urge to check your phone in bed is critical. Or else we fall into the unfortunate cycle of trouble sleeping → check phone → even more trouble sleeping → check phone again → over and over. The best way to do this is to eliminate the problem at the source. Don't bring your phone into the room. A common response to this proposal is something like, "I use my phone as an alarm clock!" But we suggest you purchase a real alarm clock to allow yourself to leave your phone outside the room. It's a worthy investment.
Note that if you rely heavily on your phone in the bedroom for a feature like Headspace's sleep stories or the Rise sleep tracking app, then don't worry! Again, we believe there is never a cookie-cutter solution to digital wellness practices, just as their isn't one single solution for weight-loss. We encourage you to try out different methods and find what works best for you! In this case, an Opal session paired with your favorite sleep app is a killer combo!
3. Replace night-scrolling with a more relaxing habit
Sometimes replacing a habit is much easier than removing one. So instead of aiming not-to-scroll, aim to do something else as your final activity in your day. Here are some suggestions:
- Light Reading - nothing too stimulating, maybe some light fiction
- Meditation - like this one
- Journaling - Write down what you did in the day, something you are grateful for, or what you look forward to in the next day.
- Relaxing Music - or listen to a sleep story, like this one.