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5 Things That Happened When I Stopped Bringing My Phone To Bed With Me

Prevention logo Prevention 20/04/2017

When I first took this assignment, I felt a little guilty. "I shouldn't even take their money," I told my husband. "I’ve already banned all devices from the bedroom, just like Gwyneth Paltrow and other spiritually evolved lifestyle gurus." "What was that strange object I saw you tapping in bed the other morning, like a lab rat hitting a lever?" my beloved asked. Okay, so it was my phone. A few months ago, before I agreed to take on this assignment, I decided that I needed a better work-life balance. Step one was banning my phone from the bedroom, so I wouldn’t be tempted to check my email (or Instagram feed) when I woke up at 3 AM. But until this experiment, I didn’t commit to going phone-free for a full eight hours; I made dawn the cutoff. If I woke up anytime after 5 AM, I’d let myself retrieve my cell from the kitchen, where I’d left it plugged in next to the coffeemaker all of five hours earlier. Then I’d squirrel back to bed with my prize and immediately start obsessing over work deadlines. Tapping away until lights out and keeping my phone on the nightstand in the early morning probably wasn’t great for my health. (It also meant I wasn’t actually banning devices from my bedroom.) Research shows that using smartphones late at night can harm sleep quality and, in turn, diminish productivity at work the next day. Our cell phones are also a major source of stress—those message and app alerts are unsettling, to say the least, breaking our concentration and making us feel like we’re supposed to be doing something else, which prevents us from actually relaxing. With this assignment, the goal was to do the experiment for real. So for two weeks, I banned my phone from the bedroom entirely. Here’s how it went. (Want to pick up some healthier habits—and break free of your bad ones? Sign up to get healthy living tips, weight loss inspiration, slimming recipes and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

I freaked out—at first, at least.: <p>The first five mornings were like waking up to discover that I’d lost my keys, wallet, and eyeglasses during the night. To say that I felt unsettled is putting it mildly. It was unbelievably hard to get up and perform my ablutions before checking my phone. I had two dreams in which I was checking my smartphone, and it froze. I woke up totally enraged. Score one for my husband and his lab rat analogy.</p><p><strong>Prevention Premium: </strong><a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/10-reasons-you-cant-get-a-good-nights-sleep">10 Reasons You Can't Get A Good Night's Sleep</a></p>

The first five mornings were like waking up to discover that I’d lost my keys, wallet, and eyeglasses during the night. To say that I felt unsettled is putting it mildly. It was unbelievably hard to get up and perform my ablutions before checking my phone. I had two dreams in which I was checking my smartphone, and it froze. I woke up totally enraged. Score one for my husband and his lab rat analogy.

Prevention Premium: 10 Reasons You Can't Get A Good Night's Sleep

© Photograph by stock_colors/Getty Images

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