7 Things You Can Do To Reduce Screen Time So You Can Sleep Better
Featured image: Hannah Xu @ Unsplash
Screen time is such an issue when you’re in this modern world.
You know how it is, you tap onto Instagram and scroll, scroll, scroll. Before you know it, an hour has passed! Technology is great, but it’s got us looking at screens from when we open our eyes to when we fall asleep at night. According to a Harvard Health Letter, even dim light can interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion (which helps with sleep). Harvard sleep researchers linked short sleep to increased risk for depression, as well as diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Other than just improving sleep, a screen detox might be the answer to help you stay more present. Take it a slow and try some of these #TeamCLEO suggestions to whittle down your screen time.
Pick Up A Print Book
It’s so easy to get distracted by social media and all the shows out there to watch (there isn’t enough time in a day!). How about picking up a book, one that sparks your interest, and taking the time to read? It’s definitely a lot easier on the eyes and it’s a chance to gain some knowledge on a topic, or get lost in a fictional world. You could even find yourself getting into the habit of reading and making a list of books to read for the year. Also, it’s a great way to have topics to talk about when you’re making conversations with people.
Screen time reduced: 1 hour
Spend More Time On self-care
That Friends episode where Monica draws a bath for Chandler and he becomes a total bath convert? Well, that could be you. Baths get really addictive, especially with your favourite essential oils and scents. Zone out from the world and take some serious time out for yourself. The ultimate luxurious way to reduce the time you’re on your phone!
Screen time reduced: 2 hours
Improve Your Fitness Level
Been wanting to stick to a workout routine but keep putting it off? This might just motivate you a tad more. You don’t even have to start off intense — go slow and build up your endurance from there. If you’re new to working out or getting back into it after a break, start with going for a walk. Don’t underestimate the benefits of walking! Just 20 to 30 minutes a day can make a world of a difference to your mood. For the gym junkies, hit up your workout classes and training routine so you’ll reach for your devices less. You’ll also be a lot more energised throughout the day and get even more things done, #win!
Screen time reduced: 20 minutes to 1 hour
pick up a pen and Write More
Social media allows for that instant gratification because you feel seen and heard by people (they might not even be people who are close to you), but somehow it makes you feel good — even for just a moment — and that feeling keeps you hooked. Find yourself being sucked into the digital world a little more than you’d like? Journaling is an amazing way to express yourself (a.k.a. vent!) and it can be more therapeutic than social media. According to a Positive Psychology article, there is evidence that journal writing therapy is effective to help people identify and accept their emotions, with lists of research suggesting that it can help students manage stress and anxiety. Buy yourself a pretty journal that makes you feel like writing in it and have your favourite pen on hand. You might find yourself writing away and you would’ve spared yourself time off the ’gram!
Screen time reduced: 10 minutes to 1 hour
go out to Meet People
Make plans: when you’re busy with people to meet and things to do, you’ll be surprised how little you think about checking your phone. Once you’re out with a friend, make it a point to put your phone away and be present in your conversation. Your friend will appreciate you being fully there and it ’s more likely that you’ll have an engaging talk. Meeting people face-to-face rather than only communicating via text and social media can add to the experience, is fulfilling and will help maintain your relationships with others IRL. While it ’ll be fun to snap some pictures together for memories, be there for the people and not just for the phone. You’ll realise how much fun you’ll have!
Screen time reduced: 1 to 3 hours
Prep A Meal
Another activity that defo helps to zone out of the (digital) world? Cooking! Our tip: try not to rush through it and take your time with the steps to making your dish. From prepping ingredients to cooking them on a stove, it can be totally therapeutic, too. If you find it hard to get yourself to do it, try making something simple for a start, like pasta or a stir-fry. Put on some of your fave tunes while you’re in the kitchen, and you’ll forget about checking your texts or Insta DMs. It ’ll bring out the #foodie in you and you might be inspired to experiment with different recipes from time to time.
Screen time reduced: 30 minutes to 2 hours
mind your mindfulness and meditate
Scrolling through social media can be a pretty mindless activity. You almost don’t even realise you’re doing it sometimes. The problem here is that we’re not really practising being conscious throughout the day and not making it a point to do things intentionally. Meditating really helps to bring our mind back to the present. It ’s totally normal to have your thoughts drift off someplace else, but being just a little more mindful can help you do things that benefit you. First-timers can start with a guided meditation (there’s a tonne on YouTube or download the Headspace app!).
Screen time reduced: 5 minutes to 1 hour
*This story was originally published on CLEO Malaysia’s Sept/Oct 2019 print issue.