Let’s face it, we live in an arms race for attention. From the moment we wake up, to the moment we go to sleep, we are challenged to tap, swipe and engage. Because we only have so much attention in our lives, everything has to fight harder to get it.
And, the challenges are everywhere, not just the traditional media channels but more specifically, those channels that have emerged on the back of the internet.
- YouTube auto plays more videos, so we forget to leave.
- Instagram shows new likes one at a time, so we keep checking in.
- Facebook shows whatever keeps us on screen, whether it’s true or not.
- News media turns everything into instant, breaking news.
- Snapchat turns conversations into streaks you don’t want to lose.
Where are we going to find that all important time to let our minds relax and disengage? Most specifically, how can we safeguard the sleeping hours so that we emerge from our sleep refreshed and mentally alert.
Check out these simple changes to take back control: Set up your phone for mindfulness
- Allow notifications from people, not machines.
Most notifications are from machines, not actual people. They keep our phones vibrating to lure us back into apps we don’t really need to be in.
Visit Settings > Notifications and turn off all notifications except those from real people– apps like WhatsApp, FB Messenger or Messages.
- Put mindless choices at a distance.
When we unlock our phones, and see a field of colourful icons begging to be tapped, it taxes our mind.
Instead limit your first screen to just the “tools” you use for in-and-out tasks– like Maps, Camera, Calendar, Notes, or Lyft. Move the rest of your apps off the first page and into folders.
- Launch other apps by typing.
Swipe down and type the app you want to open instead of leaving bad habits on the home screen. Typing takes just enough effort to pause and ask, “do I really want to do this?”
On Android you can use the Search box on your home screen.
iOS: For best results, turn off Siri Suggestions (Settings > General > Spotlight Search > Siri Suggestions to off)
- Charge your device outside the bedroom.
Get a separate alarm clock in your bedroom, and charge your phone in another room (or on the other side of the room). This way, you can wake up without getting sucked into your phone before you even get out of bed.
- Know your Bottomless Bowls and Slot Machines
Know which apps are bottomless bowls (trapdoors) and slot machines (constant checking) for you. Move them off the first page of apps.
This brings me to the sleep-weight link.
What is the Sleep-Weight Link?
In recent years there has been a growing body of evidence to suggest that sleep plays a much more crucial role in our weight than was originally thought.
Did you know that, if you’re trying to lose weight, the amount and quality of your sleep may actually be just as important as your diet and exercise? This has been overlooked for years, but finally people are realising how crucial sleep is. Despite all this knowledge we have, unfortunately the research has been suggesting that our sleep has been declining over the past few decades, with many adults getting less than 7 hours each night.
At the same time, we have seen an alarming increase in obesity and the link is no coincidence.
Also, set aside some time to set up your phone for mindfulness. As more and more solid scientific-backed evidence emerges, there is no doubting the negative effects of too much screen time, especially in the hour before bedtime.