Shhh. My Phone and I are Trying to Sleep!

You’ve heard it all before. Blue light can keep you from sleeping, social media is distracting, everyone needs to unplug for true rest. Articles like this one from Sleep Foundation encourage complete cutoff, providing tips for a technology free bedroom. But is that the only way? I’m not going to even begin to say all of the points here about blue light and distractions and stimulation are unfounded, science would prove me wrong. But technology is so very customizable, powerful and ever evolving. It seems only fitting that some of that tech, on smartphones specifically, would be put toward helping people get a good night’s rest. Granted, I have a bias here. I am a frequent user of the Muse S, a headband designed to track brain waves and body movements for sleep and meditation tracking overtime, and I love it dearly. I also had technology forcibly taken from me in an abusive situation, and so when I first resisted this idea, I thought it was simply dear old trauma, deciding to turn me obstinate once again in the face of scientific evidence. But it seems I’m not the only one who thinks the baby shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater, here.

This article from PC Mag outlines some ways technology can neatly interface with the evening hours including sleep tracking, meditation, white noise and light/temperature control. It also highlights the fact that such devices can be used to obtain and maintain a sleep schedule, something incredibly difficult for many, and aid in comfort the whole night through, for every sleep cycle. Granted, some of these can be set to work independently, without prompting, but I’d argue that its still technology, still the interconnected world treading, however lightly, in the peaceful, sacred space of bedroom.

If you’re thinking about price, you’d probably be right to. Some of these devices, like Muse, can be expensive, but I found the headband, as well as these sleep headphones by the wonderfully named Acoustic Sheep, on eBay at a fraction of their normal price. If you don’t want something external, there are a plethora of apps, too many to name, on Google Play and iOS, designed to help you drift off and remain aware of the quality of your nights, serving up everything a user could possibly want between them. So why, I ask, is there this stigma around technology in bed not keeping up with what software and hardware can do? Why do we continue to paint mobile devices as an enemy to peace when they are fully equipped with tools to help us rest and recharge? Perhaps I’m looking at this with too narrow a lens, not seeing something important. But I’m not doubting the efficacy of the facts that the interconnected world can be a hindrance, and nor for that matter is the very article I’ve sited to prove it can be a force for good. I just don’t think it’s the enemy people would make it out to be, and that amidst important awareness of how it can hurt, we need to remember how it can help, as well.

All of this said, not everything is going to work for every person. Some find tea helpful before sleep, while others don’t find it does anything or don’t like the taste. I can’t stand white noise, instead preferring natural sounds or an audiobook if I’m going to listen to something, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all without any tech nearby. There are as many ways to get comfortable and relax as there are stars in the sky, and not all of those are going to involve fancy devices or even the common smartphone. That’s ok. But its also ok, in my opinion, to bring as many things into bed with you as you need to feel sleepy and at peace, no matter how many apps or devices that means. So whatever your bedtime routine, I hope these words have ruffled no bedspreads, and that all readers find cozy comforts when laying down tonight. Me, I’ll cross a few wires in hopes for sweet dreams.

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