Imagine that your phone has hit the dreaded 10% battery warning.
What are your initial thoughts?
Where is my charger?
How do I charge this?
Who has a charger?
Quick somebody! My phone is going to die!
The sheer stress that can come from this state is borderline ridiculous. Between scrolling Instagram, texting, answering emails and browsing the internet, this device has seemingly taken control of our lives. It’s no wonder we emit quiet panic when that battery is close to zero!
Now imagine another scenario: we just woke up feeling groggy after that alarm goes off. Everyone knows that feeling, right? We would seemingly give anything in the World to stay in bed just a little bit longer. Just 15 more minutes… that will cure everything.
Alas, we get up and get the day started. We start slowly moving around like a zombie as we still don’t feel right.
Drive to work.
Grogginess is back… more coffee.
Head home from work, make dinner and watch some TV.
More time is spent on the phone, scrolling, texting, browsing, probably now while this is plugged in.
I should probably go to bed, but let me check Instagram one more time.
What seems wrong here?
We are quick to plug in a phone when it notifies us of a low battery, but we are seemingly, endlessly driving our bodies deeper and deeper into the lowest percentages imaginable without realizing we are doing so.
Your body & mind already have the ultimate way to recharge every night.
This is what happens when we sleep.
Now more than ever, as we get busier sleep is often the first thing that we sacrifice.
After all its hard to ignore the lack of sleep bravado that is ever present in the newsfeeds and on social media. “Hey its 4am… let’s go.”
“So and so is a multi-millionaire and they say they never sleep.”
“Sleep is for the weak.”
Lack of sleep makes you weak & then you die. It’s science.
Stop wearing out the only machine you have to get around on this planet.
Here are a couple of simple tips that will help you to sleep better and start to charge your body better than your cell phone.
1) WORK TO INCREASE YOUR SLEEP WINDOW EVERY NIGHT:
Let’s say that you must be up at 6am everyday throughout the week for work.
By the time you put your phone down for the last time and shut off the lights its 11:30.
Hypothetically, let’s say you don’t have a problem falling asleep once you decide to do so.
Let’s say it only takes you a few minutes after 11:30 to actually fall asleep and it only takes you a couple of minutes to get out of bed after that alarm clock goes off.
This will leave you with roughly 6:30-6:45 hours of a total sleep window.
That’s good right?
As Dr. Satchin Panda mentions in the book the Circadian Code, it appears that 6 hours should be the absolute minimum cut-off that anyone should have as far as receiving the true benefits of sleep.
But hey! Based on this scenario we are over 6 hours with this time slot.
So we’re good, right?!
Keep on scrolling!
Wait… not so fast.
Your body isn’t fully into its beneficial sleep settings as soon as your eyes close. What happens is you travel through what are called sleep cycles. These are essentially where your body moves through different levels of sleep and performs different processes during these stages.
During these cycles you will actually wake up, whether you know or not, and then enter back through these stages of sleep once again.
Some people depending on their time spent in deeper levels of sleep can actually have a significant amount of time where they are not in these states.
Ok... cut to the point.
So I have to get up at 6am….What time should I have lights off… in bed… and sleep started?
Bare minimum, in a perfect scenario you should aim for an 8 hour sleep window every night.
Based on your fluctuations through sleep cycles this will roughly give you 6:45 – 7+ hours bare minimum, of high quality sleep.
How does that sound?
The only catch is that you have to have lights out by 10 pm based on this 6am alarm.
Ok. I can do that.
2) IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY: GET IT DARK
There are many factors that can affect our actual quality of sleep every night.
One of the most prevalent factors causing problems today didn’t exist not long ago and has increased dramatically over the last 20 years or so.
We used to sleep in absolute darkness. The only light there was after the lights or fire went out was created by the stars in the sky. As Dr. Matthew Walker writes in his book "Why We Sleep", this has drastically changed. Now due to lights on devices, appliances and street lights we are practically sleeping in constant day light.
I live in a fairly modern subdivision.
Even with blinds closed at night I can see perfectly fine when walking around my place.
The increased presence and development of street lights has almost eliminated darkness in most urban areas these days.
What needs to change? How can we improve the quality of our sleep environment by making it as dark as possible?
First step… get black out blinds. If there is light showing through the sides or bottom of the windows find a way to cover those as well. This can be done easier than you think and is often a matter of just getting creative.
Next, remove anything that has a light on it or cover it up.
Does anyone actually have a digital alarm clock anymore?
If so throw it in the recycled appliance pile!
If you can’t get that drastic, find a way to completely cover the display at night. Or better yet, unplug it.
Cover any other appliance that has a light on it.
Red light button on a TV?
Light on a dimmer switch?
You see what I’m saying here? Cover that up!!!
This is a very simple way of improving our sleep quality but it also may be the most important. Light regulates and controls our circadian or natural rhythms. You can imagine how much havoc is created on these rhythms when we are in ever present light.
Allowing ourselves a dedicated block of time for sleep, and improving the quality of our sleep environment are important factors that can produce phenomenal rewards. While we can master both of these aspects fairly easily, there is one more remaining factor that we will need to account for.
Perhaps the biggest factor affecting our sleep quality these days comes back to that device we mentioned that we are constantly attached to.
Please, please, please do not sleep with your phone in your room!
*CRUCIAL BONUS STEP! – REMOVE YOUR PHONE!
This is perhaps the biggest culprit of how this lack of sleep lifestyle has begun to perpetuate itself in the first place.
Think of the blue light blasting you in the eyes… keeping you awake when your body should be shutting down for the night.
Ever wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what time it is?
Check your phone.
Then the next thing you know you’re reading texts, checking emails and scrolling Instagram.
How did this happen?
Think of how recent this massive shift to our sleep structure has been. The smartphone really didn’t arrive until 2007 and it probably wasn’t completely mainstream until 2010 when statistics show that most sales doubled from the previous year. This is roughly only 10 years of time in which something we can keep in our pocket has significantly affected our lives for the positive and also negative.
It is ridiculous to think that what could be draining you the most is also the thing that causes you stress when it's battery runs low.
It is time to take better care of ourselves over our smart phones.
Investing a little bit of time into how you can improve this important aspect of your life will pay off more than you may even realize.
What value can you place on feeling better, more alert, more refreshed and present with those who you come in contact with on a daily basis?
Invest in sleeping better, invest in yourself.
The rewards are endless.