3 Things to Do If You Can’t Resist Your Stupid Little Phone Before Bed

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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If you (like me) reach for your phone to answer life’s biggest (and most pointless) questions to fill the void, give other, more relaxing nighttime activities a go instead—like, say, a soothing podcast or a good book—that’ll keep your brain engaged yet calm (so, maybe skip that suspenseful true crime series). If you’re struggling with not feeling tired at night, getting more physical activity can help you nod off (just 30 minutes per day may help you sleep better, research suggests), as can waking up bright and early every morning.

Make your phone less tempting.

One way to ditch your phone after hours is to make it less fun to use (because, let’s be real, it’s so damn entertaining).

Step one: Switch to grayscale mode at night (to save you a google, here’s how to do this on an iPhone and Android). Research shows that removing all color makes your phone less enticing, which, according to Dr. Lee, can motivate you to use it less, thereby improving your sleep and well-being, (I just did this and am pleasantly shocked by how turned off I am by my colorless screen).

Another trick Dr. Lee recommends: Wrap a hair tie or rubber band around your phone—it’ll act as a physical barrier between you and mindless swiping. There’s no clinical research behind this strategy, but it makes sense: A rubber band or scrunchie will make your phone less appealing, and it’ll also stop you from automatically scrolling without even thinking about what you’re doing.

Team up with an accountability partner.

If you have a roommate, partner, friend, or colleague who’s also glued to their phone at night, consider joining forces. According to Dr. Lee (and research), people are way better at making behavioral changes when others are involved.

Once you’ve teamed up with someone who also has an unhealthy relationship with their phone (we’re all gonna be okay), bake in a reward to motivate you to lay off the screens at night. Dr. Lee suggests making a game of it: Set specific rules around when or how you can use your phones. Maybe the goal is to go two hours—say, between 8 and 10 p.m.—without tapping your lives away. Or perhaps the challenge is to simply see who can use their phone less after dinner.

Monitor yourself and check in with your pal about how you did the next day (or at the end of the week). And don’t forget to set a prize first: Maybe the winner doesn’t have to do the dishes, for example, or they get to pick the next fun activity you guys do together. If you both succeed: Even better. Find a reward you can both enjoy!

If it was easy to stop using your phone all the time before bed, I wouldn’t be writing this article—and you wouldn’t be reading it. It might suck to admit to myself that I can’t live without my precious device at night and need a new evening hobby (downloading a few books on my Nook right now). But if that means I won’t be quite as glued to my phone before bed (or quite as exhausted when my alarm goes off the next morning), I’m here for it. You are capable of unwinding without your phone—getting there just might require switching it to the very hideous, very unpleasant grayscale setting. There are worse things in life. I think.

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