Goodnight, iPhone

Many of us are guilty of it.

Going to bed, but not really going to bed; there’s always that last-minute check on your phone or tablet, whether it’s to browse Facebook, check an email, or scan the news headlines one more time. And it never ends well.

There’s always that one post, one tweet, one headline that sets your mind going at the speed of light.

I’ve struggled with staying off technology as bedtime approaches, but recently, I’ve fallen prey to it again, and I always end up with regrets. When else would I make Amazon purchases directly from my iPhone that I wouldn’t otherwise make? And there’s just something so compelling about watching YouTube videos of baby animals at 10:30 p.m. (Just kidding; the time for those videos is more like midnight).

But the reality is, it’s hard enough falling asleep just thinking about your day, without any help from online disturbances.

It can even be risky to spend a lot of time online in the evening, just a few hours before fully committing to getting some rest.

So, what can you do to prevent yourself from reaching for the phone and actually get some rest? Here are some ideas I’ve tried.

1. Read

One technique I have used is intentionally swapping the screen for a book. If you’re awake enough, reading will keep your attention. If not, the words on the page have a way of telling you that you’re too sleepy to keep going.

2. Write

I keep a daily journal, and writing in it is usually the last thing I do each day. It’s not always an easy habit to fall into, but now I can’t live without it. Sometimes, I think of journaling as an external hard drive for my mind; somewhere to keep my thoughts for safekeeping, opening up room for mental clarity.

3. Oils

Reaching for essential oil blends (lavender and vanilla especially!) is an excellent choice instead of opting for your phone or tablet. Some essential oils naturally lull you to sleep when applied to the skin or diffused throughout the room, and they’re a good distraction from the screen.

4. Reflect

When I’m tempted to check social media, email, or anything else on my phone, I try to remember that nothing comforting or productive ever comes from an 11 p.m. scroll through Facebook. Designating this time for contemplation (like meditation or prayer) is always more conducive to catching some Zs.

While I haven’t been able to vanquish the habit completely, these tricks have helped. (If you have any advice, please send it along!)

The truth is that the internet can wait; it will always be there tomorrow.

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