Monday, August 20, 2012

A sleep tip for tired moms: eliminate screen time!

At almost 10-months-old, my baby is still not sleeping through the night. This means I don't sleep through the night, and I've had to get used to always feeling at least a little bit tired. Somehow I manage, but it can be rough. Especially since I used to sleep for nine or 10 hours every night (I also used to take naps most days). Quite the change!

Fortunately, I found a way to maximize the quality of the limited amount of sleep I do get. I ditched my iPhone! Not altogether -- just at night. I had somehow convinced myself that I needed to have my phone right beside my pillow at night. Really? Why? All it does is keep me awake. When my phone is within reach, I am constantly picking it up. Is it my turn in Words With Friends? What is happening on Facebook? What is tomorrow's forecast? Any new Groupon deals? I realized this a couple of weeks ago after a really, really rough night. My baby woke up for her first nighttime feeding at about 12:30am. After she fell back to sleep (15 minutes later), I made the mistake of looking at my phone. One of my friends was messaging me on Facebook! It was super important, of course, and we wound up chatting until 3am. I quickly regretted this, because I could not get back to sleep. I just sat there (staring at the ceiling) for more than an hour. When I finally started to doze off around 4:30am, my baby woke up. And this time she decided to stay up for a while. She went back to bed at 6am, but only for another hour. I spent the next few days feeling like a zombie. All. My Fault. And besides, I know better. It is pretty well-established that screen time disrupts sleep, and I've even written a few articles on the topic. Sigh.

I made a decision at that moment that I could not let this happen again and immediately implemented a No iPhone At Night policy. Instead of placing my phone within arm's reach, I now set it on the bathroom counter. It is still only a few steps away in case I do actually need it, but far enough away that it doesn't serve as a distraction. My sleep situation is still not ideal, but it is better (much better) than it was two weeks ago!

Are you distracted at night by your iPhone, TV, tablet, etc.? Do you sleep better when it is out of reach?




3 comments:

  1. Yes, I agree, cellphone is a distraction. It's really hard to be a mom. Sleepless night is one factor. But don't worry when your baby turns 1, she will learn to sleep straight during the night. good luck!

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  2. Oh my gosh, I'm the same way....if my phone is nearby, I'm constantly checking it bc surely something fascinating is happening at 2am. It's like when I was a kid laying in bed thinking I was missing out on something exciting going on after bed time. Ha ha I'm going on a night time smart phone strike as well.. I'm 35 weeks pregnant and resting less than I'd like before the baby arrives. I figure this will be a good habit to start so I'm not tempted to check it between night time feedings ones the baby is born.
    Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy it.

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  3. I used to (ok, still am sometimes) be very guilty of this. I've tried to make more of an effort to put my phone aside at all times at focus on whatever I need to be doing- playing with Hailey, talking with David, sleeping... it's a good reminder. Thanks :)

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