I always have my phone on me. I’m the millennial stereotype. I look at my phone first thing in the morning, before I go to bed, when I’m on the toilet (TMI? Nah), and I even keep my phone with me on the bathroom vanity while I’m taking a shower in case I get an important text that needs a response. Heck, I sleep with my phone IN my bed. I can’t get away, and for the most part, I’ve never been upset about it.
However, my family thinks otherwise. The amount of times I’ve been told I’m going to get cancer from having my phone so close to at all times is enough to make me freak out (but not to actually stop). I’m also constantly told by my friends that my anxiety and stress levels will improve if I just step away for a little.
After enough nagging (love you all!) from my friends and family and a little motivation to see if this would actually work (I was skeptical), I embarked on a journey to keep my phone out of my bed for a month. I’ll be honest, there were a few nights I slipped up, but for the most part, I kept my phone on my vanity on the charger every night.
I got fewer nightmares
I’ve gotten recurrent nightmares for a few years. Some nights, I can’t even fall back asleep after I’ve woken up from one of them, and I get worried before I go to bed that I’ll have one. It has negatively impacted my sleep over the past few years, and I’ve even taken multiple different medications in an attempt to get rid of them, and nothing has worked.
Since not using my phone, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the number of nightmares I’ve had. If I use my phone before bed, I almost always have at least one nightmare. It’s also impacted the vividness of my dreams. I notice I dream a lot less and it isn’t as clear when I’m not spending time on my phone just before I fall asleep. This has been the absolute best thing to come out of this experiment and what’s reminding me to keep going!
I had less anxiety in the morning
I have panic disorder as well as generalized anxiety, and I’ve struggled with mornings for as long as I can remember. I always get anxious about whatever big meeting or event I have during the day, and it can even make getting out of bed in the morning a struggle.
After not spending a month on my phone, I’ve woken up calmer and in a better state. I’ll sit in bed some nights sending myself messages on Slack (my biggest work hack but also my downfall sometimes) with reminders and ideas floating through my head. I’ll get into a groove and realize not only is it miraculously 2am, but I’ve somehow managed to stress myself out about every single thing under the sun. Putting my phone away makes me forget about all those things. Instead, I give myself 30 minutes in the morning for a brainstorm, and this has worked out so much better.
I read A LOT more
Not looking at my phone before hitting the hay has given me a lot more time to do other things aside from scrolling on a screen. While I can’t say I’ve read 20 books in the last month, I have gotten through a backlog of magazines and read all the articles I’ve been saving up for a rainy day. (I keep a “reading list” folder on my computer, and it was getting quite long.)
My skin was clearer
I’m lazy AF when it comes to skincare. I love experimenting and trying new products, but if my bed is calling my name, taking my makeup off takes a back seat. Usually, I’ll get in bed after doing whatever I planned for the night and scroll (and swipe, no shame) on my phone for close to an hour. Before I know it, I’m curled up with my blanket, and there’s no chance of me getting up. Sorry, not sorry. Then, I wake up with acne. Boo.
Putting my phone away before bed has forced me to create a night routine and stick to it. My skincare routine gets done every single night, and I’ve noticed a huge change in my skin because of it. I’m breaking out significantly less because I’m not sleeping in makeup anymore. Even when I’ve been out late, I force myself to take the time to do my skincare routine because I know I can immediately go to bed instead of dropping my phone on my face every two minutes.
I woke up less in the middle of the night
I’ve struggled with sleeping through the night for years. From my anxiety to the nightmares to my awful sleep schedule in college, I’ve never been able to recover. If I make it through the night without waking up at least four or five times, it’s a good night for me. Usually, I’ll wake up and not be able to immediately fall back asleep, so I go on my phone for a little bit until I’m tired enough to hit the hay again. It’s a horrible cycle, and I was ready for it to change.
In the last month, I’ve noticed a gradual change in how often I wake up. I’m beginning to wake up much less (about one to two times a night), and I’ve shifted my habits toward trying to fall asleep again immediately instead of going on my phone or responding to that text that can absolutely wait until morning. This is a habit I’m still working on, but the change I’ve noticed in my sleep is amazing so far.