Like clockwork, every morning at 6:30am the cries of my 2 year old wake my husband and I up from a dead sleep. One of us will reluctantly get up in a zombie like trance, grab the 2 year old (and now the 4 year old because the cries wake her up too), plop them on the couch, turn on PBS and start a large pot of a coffee.
I’m guessing we’re not the only ones telling ourselves we MUST got to bed earlier. Yet, every night after negotiating bed times with master manipulators (seriously, toddlers should be writing books on how to win negotiations), finishing up a few work emails, and catching up on Survivor, I would find myself in bed around 11pm. BUT THEN I would grab my phone and mindlessly scroll through Instagram and Facebook–which would lead to the never ending funnel of articles, and somehow an hour would pass and I would have to force myself to put my phone down to go to sleep. I’m sure it’s close to 12:30 or 1am by the time I’m actually sleeping.
My husband isn’t so much interested in his phone as he is falling asleep to old episodes of The Office or Parks and Rec on his laptop. For years he’s had trouble sleeping and watching TV has been his go-to for as long as I can remember.
We decided to do something about our exhaustion. It wasn’t setting a new bed time; it was simply agreeing to keep electronics out of our bedroom. When we came up with the idea we were both hesitant. Could we do it? We would have to be an actual alarm clock (We seriously said this excuse out loud). How was this simple idea so freaking hard to commit to? I’m the first to admit I’m addicted to my phone. It’s with me at all times and has been a source of conflict in my marriage. I didn’t want to do it, which is exactly why I knew I needed to do it. We decided to commit to 30 days and then re-asses.
It’s been about a month and I can’t believe the difference this simple change has made in our lives. On average I would say we are both in bed between 10 and 10:30pm and asleep by 11pm. We’re picking up books every night instead of our electronics, and minutes after turning off our lamps we are asleep. And not all mornings, but I would say at least 2 times a week we wake up before the girls. For real…do you know how amazing that is?!
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but I’d bet that the last thing most people do before they go to bed is scroll through their phone. I’m sure we’ve all seen the articles online about how the blue light from screens adversely affect sleep, but our habitual routines take over and we do it anyway.
So if you’re exhausted, why not try this one simple thing? I’d be willing to bet your sleep, your marriage and your day will be significantly improved.