Weighty Matters

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Better Quality Sleep

on March 25, 2015

In recent months, I’ve seen numerous references and articles addressing the need for enough hours of quality sleep every night.  Every article/reference included information that we lower the quality of our sleep when we have electronic devices in the bedroom.

*insert sly wink, hehehe chuckle, snorty giggle and merry-eyed look here*

I’ll see you your entendre and double it.  I don’t mean those electronic devices, naughty-minded people.  The articles are talking about cell phones, tablets, even, televisions.  The gist of the info suggests that when these electronic gadgets are present and turned on (Okay, enough with the sexual innuendos! 🙂 ), they are distracting us from the full quality sleep that we need.  Even if we aren’t actually using them, they affect us.

Hmmmph, I thought the first few times I saw this mentioned.  Could this really be the case?  I mean, it’s not like I wake up every time my phone chimes because of a new email received, or that I come awake to play my turn in Words with Friends.  After all, even though my phone is plugged in and sitting on the bed-side table in close proximity to my brain, I have it switched to vibrate.  Isn’t that enough, I wondered.

Apparently not, according to all of the stuff I read.  From what I understand, if my phone is on, my subconscious is not completely resting.  It’s still, on some level, listening and registering the buzz of the vibration or, if the phone is still set to full sound, the little chimes and beeps.  Ordinarily, I would cite the articles, but I don’t have that info handy, so I’m proceeding with the less scientific, “Hey, I read about it in lots of stuff”.   Finally, after about half a dozen different references came my way, I thought, “What if?”

What if there’s something to these claims?  What if someone actually published a peer-reviewed study, obtained solid, verifiable data, and can fully support this theory?  What if, instead of logging the full throttle Zzzzzzzzzzs, I’m short changing myself.  Maybe I’m only getting Wwwwwwwwws, or, even worse, only Uuuuuuuuuus?

Above all, why am I depending on the iPhone for the time and the wake-up alarm when right there on the table next to the iPhone is a perfectly good, working clock radio?

So, last week, just for the sake of checking it out for myself, when I went to bed, I turned off my phone.  Total black screen.  Much to my surprise, when I woke up the next morning, I noticed a difference.  I felt better-rested with that lovely, content, oh-I-really-slept-well feeling.

Afraid that it was a lucky coincidence or a fluke, I tried again the following night.  Same great affects the next morning.  I’ve now done this for at least a week of sleeps and my own personal little data set says the articles and references might be right.  I’m enjoying a better, deeper, quality of sleep than I do when I sleep with the phone on next to my bed.

There are other studies that suggest good quality sleep is also important for successful weight loss.  I’m still collecting personal data on that idea, but for now the phone remains off when the lights go off at Casa Stella!

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5 responses to “Better Quality Sleep

  1. lynnviehl says:

    I think electronics do factor in with sleeplessness. I was a bad insomniac up until last year. I think because I always worked on the computer right up to bed time (mainly because the house was quiet and I could concentrate) and would sometimes listen to music or read something on the e-reader. Then I’d either spend two hours trying to go to sleep or toss and turn all night.

    My Zen teacher suggested I take an hour before bed to go through wind-down routine and then get up a half hour earlier in the morning until I could get up at dawn every daw. The wind-down is shutting off all the computer and everything else electronic, meditating briefly in gratitude for the day, sipping a cup of herbal tea and either reading from a paper book, writing in my paper journal or sewing until bed time. No talking, no electronics, nothing but the routine. The idea is to eliminate all the things that make you hyper and relax with what doesn’t before you try to sleep. The most important aspect is that you follow the same routine faithfully every single night and get up earlier in the morning (you’re also supposed to avoid napping during the day if possible.)

    For me it worked. I couldn’t believe it. After forty-odd years of rampant, constant insomnia I am finally sleeping a solid six hours every night — which for me is like twelve hours is for someone else — and waking up rested and relaxed every morning at dawn. After trying several medications and every holistic remedy under the sun I still can’t believe it works, but I am not jinxing it. 🙂

    • Mary Stella says:

      Lynn, thank you for sharing this process. I find great value in the practice of “winding down”, although my steps are not as complete. I turn off the television and then let the dogs out into the yard for their last “out” before bed. At that time, I take a few moments to sit on the porch, breathe and just soak in some quiet time. I often read for a few minutes in bed before shutting out the light, too.

  2. I also removed all mirrors from the bedroom, a feng shui thing. Instant peace.

  3. Marti91257 says:

    I wonder, does it need to be all the way off,black screen and all, or would “airplane mode” suffice? I have an old iPhone that I use as an iPod to listen to relaxation tracks before I nod off. I wonder if they’re making it more difficult?

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