Monday, March 10, 2014

Sleeping with Your Smartphone

Sleeping with your Smartphone. This is actually the title of a book by Leslie Perlow. Her book refers specifically to businesses and their expectations of their employees, but it is a problem with the general population as well, and more specifically teens. But this is an initial blog about my own experience with technology as I utilize mindfulness practices to attempt to moderate my overuse, or in the Yama terms, hoarding of technology.

Today's post is a simple report of my activities last night. I spent a quiet night at home alone after a very social weekend. I realized that I could read, watch Downton Abbey or get caught up on emails. I did all three. I crawled into bed with a cup of tea and gluten free chocolate chip and almond bar. I began my evening by reading Larry Rosen's iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us. It is important to note that I am reading this book in analog form, or more simply paperback form. I've recently learned that the blue light emitted by digital devices has been known to contribute to sleep disturbances and in more extreme forms sleep disorders. After reading a chapter, complete with margin notes and references to other studies to read, I chose to open my computer and complete a couple of emails. I then ended my evening by watching the final episode of Season 4 of Downton Abbey while finishing my tea and yummy treat. As I watched Downton, I questioned my choice since my computer was emitting this blue light. Some people have no technology in their bedrooms, not even a television. I truly love writing on my laptop while nestled cozily in my bed, so I don't think I can give this up, at least not yet. But I can be aware of it.

Before turning off all my technology, I set my alarm on my iPhone as a back up to the "old fashioned" alarm clock by my bed. As an aside I have not been able to put my iPhone in the kitchen at night. My resistance to doing this is questionable, so I commit here in this semi-public forum that I will begin that practice tonight.

This morning I woke up before my alarm, even though it was the first school morning after setting our clocks ahead. I woke up Olivia, and then I observed my unconscious reaction to pick up my phone, but I didn't. What else could I do this morning instead of checking my phone? Make a cup of coffee, practice some sun salutations, and meditate for 15 minutes. That was my goal, and that's what I did. It was fascinating to feel in my body the desire to check my phone and write a couple of emails, but I resisted. As soon as I finished meditating, I checked my phone, answered a couple of emails, and put the technology away until I arrived at Starbucks prepared to snuggle into a cozy chair with my triple grande non-fat extra hot dry cappuccino. And that is where I am as I write this entry. Until tomorrow...

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