In my previous post I discussed my newest health habit for energy and productivity. The caffeine curfew has helped immensely, but it is just one half of the dynamic duo of curfews I’ve recently implemented.
In my ongoing quest to become more energized and productive I’ve adopted an electronics curfew. When the designated time hits, I go dark, turning off all screens, buzzes, beeps and alerts. Why did I decide to go all 1920’s in the evening? I’m glad you asked!
Recently a great deal of research has been published on the adverse effects of electronic devices on our brains and bodies. The short-wavelength ‘blue’ light that’s emitted from our computers, TV’s, tablets and phones suppresses melatonin and disrupts sleep duration and quality leaving us feeling tired and drained throughout the day. (not to mention the inhibited hormone production)
Along with the effects of the light, the over-stimulation we get from our electronics causes us unease. Constantly jumping from one web page to the next, one headline to another, this video to that, limits our ability to concentrate on a single task for an effective period of time. It is rewiring our brain so that we are unable focus, giving us a perpetual state of what the Buddhists call ‘monkey mind’.
I could feel these negative effects happening to me. It became difficult concentrate deeply on anything. I began to feel anxious and even a bit short of breath. I would stay up much later than I should and when I did try to sleep, I would lay in bed trying in vain to calm down my brain and drift off to dreamland.
Then one day it occurred to me, ‘Why don’t I do with electronics the same thing that I did for caffeine?’ I put a curfew into place that has me flip the off switch an hour before I hit the hay. My bedtime varies from day to day so instead of having an exact time to unplug every night, I keep it a little more flexible with the ‘one hour prior’ rule.
The first time I tried this I had the ‘well what the heck do I do now?’ feeling. There was nothing left to keep me passive entertained. Then I took a look beside my bed and noticed the knee high stack of books that are just begging to be read! I peered over to my desk and oh, hello, there’s the year old journal that’s 90% blank. It’s about time I cracked that open!
Now the hour before bed is reading, writing and meditation time. And according to plan, by the end of that hour I’m pleasantly sleepy and ready to catch some proverbial z’s.
For your own practice, you could include any number of things in your last hour. A board game, time to talk with your spouse, yodeling practice, you name it! As long as anything that needs a battery or an outlet is turned off, you’ll be on your way to a more restful night’s sleep and a more energized and productive tomorrow!
Note: I actually had to stop editing this post one night to stick to my curfew!