I have noticed that my phone has become a huge distraction. I can’t walk two feet without refreshing Instagram and I found myself constantly reaching for my phone in bed. I was living out this tweet in real time.
And when you use social media and your phone for work, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re “working” and that’s why you need to be scrolling. I had to be honest with myself: this wasn’t work. It was absolutely mindless consumption and it was ruining my productivity and my sleep.
According to The Cleveland Clinic, using your phone before bed can negatively impact your health. It keeps us awake and psychologically activated, making it even harder to fall asleep. Recent research has found a correlation between suppressed levels of melatonin and exposure to blue light. Melatonin is one of the hormones responsible for controlling your sleep-wake cycle – so we don’t want to disrupt that.
I knew I needed to do something about this so I started my next mental health experiment: Therapist doesn’t bring her phone to bed for 7 days.
I do these little 7 day experiments because I like to see how they boost my mental health and then share them with you all. So, what did I learn when I didn’t bring my phone to bed for 7 days?
I recommend taking technology breaks whenever possible. I know that there are so many people who need their phones close to them at night for whatever reason (and there are many valid reasons). And, I think we can all evaluate our relationship with technology and what we really need to be doing on our phones.
Do you need your phone close by and on for emergencies? Maybe! But do you need to be scrolling on Instagram til 2AM because it’s next to you? I don’t think so…
What is important is that you evaluate how technology, social media, and phone use are impacting your life and make adjustments that fit you. Maybe you want to challenge yourself to not be on your phone with your kids. Maybe you want to put that phone away on date night. I also think going cold-turkey can be hard for a lot of people. Setting aside a window of time for scrolling before bed may be more effective. I know I had to put my phone literally across the room or I wouldn’t stop.
This was something I wanted to try and I think it’s something I’ll continue.
I love doing these 7 day mental health challenges and reporting back. Is there anything else you want me to try (think mental health apps or mental health practices)?? Lmk in the comments or DM me on Instagram (I’ll respond to you in the AM because my phone is so far away!!)
Whitney Goodman, LMFT is a therapist, author, and mother on a quest to make mental health information accessible and easy to understand.
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