Ever since I could earn money, I’ve been buying gadgets. I am the biggest technophile you’ll meet. I’ll buy things, use them twice, and then look for the next best thing, because I can never get enough. However, I had a lot of debt building up and it was really weighing me down. I’m not talking about economic debt, I’m talking about sleep debt.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. Let me start back to when I started to realize that I had a problem.
I had just moved to San Francisco. Everything I owned was packed up in boxes in my new room, except for my new bed. I just spent a pretty penny on it, and for the first week, I slept like a king. And slowly, as I unpacked all of my toys, I started having troubles falling asleep. I was exhausted and I just couldn’t get any GOOD sleep.
Without it, I am a shell. I can’t think clearly at work and I can’t get in a good workout. Since I didn’t get in a good workout, I start to feel sluggish, and the only thing I’d have energy for was playing with my fancy electronics. I couldn’t get a wink of sleep. I’d toss and turn in bed for hours before falling asleep and being sleepy while driving an hour and a half to work in the morning didn’t feel good. Nor did it feel very safe.
As I googled for reasons on why, I stumbled upon something interesting. Studies have shown our gadgets are depriving us of our precious ZZZs. The bright lights on our monitors and phones are interrupting our circadian rhythms. It’s our favorite social networking sites. I want to see what my friends are doing on Twitter. I want to see lame baby pictures on Facebook. Damn it, I want to see those videos of those cute kittens looking at itself in the mirror and getting scared. I need these stimuli. I feel lost without them. But I also need my sleep.
Breaking the cycle
I love my toys, and I wasn’t gonna get rid of them. That being said, I needed to fix my problem, or else I’d just be another stat adding to the ridiculous number of people in America depriving themselves of a good nights rest.
First thing I wanted to do was turn off my night light. I didn’t literally have a night light, it just felt like that because all of my gadgets and gizmos have these really bright LEDs on them that blink or shimmer or do whatever the hell they feel like doing. This was even when they were off. Unplugging them was a hassle, since I’d most likely need to plug them all back in when I woke up.
I discovered Lithographer’s tape. Cut a little piece off and put them on any led light and you won’t even know it existed. A roll that will last you forever, will only be 6 bucks on Amazon. The tape is thin and doesn’t leave a much residue when you take it off, the perfect solution (in early tests, I didn’t have any sticky residue when I took the tape off, but that might change over many months).
But this only helps you keep your room dim when you are in bed. The lights from your computer will still mess with your brain and you probably won’t be able to doze off for another hour or so. This is where one of my addictions saved me. I learned about this great program called Flux on reddit. Flux essentially reduces the warmth of your monitors colors as the day progresses. The brightness and colors of your monitor will be perfectly normal during the daytime, but by night, your monitor will have a relaxing orange hue to it.
After using this program for just 1 week, I began to notice that at night, my eyes started to get droopy. I was feeling tired, when I was supposed to feel tired. I fell asleep shortly after getting in bed. It was a miracle. I was able to keep my addiction to my email + social networks and get back to going to sleep.
I didn’t have to abandon or change my technological lifestyle. In fact, I’m writing this article right now at midnight and can feel my bed calling to me. So this is where I’ll leave you, and hopefully I remember to edit this article tomorrow. One thing is for sure, I know I’ll be able to get a great nights rest before waking up to play racquetball for 4 hours.
If you can’t figure out why I’m writing about sleep on a fitness blog, then check out these other articles. They dicuss why sleep is amazing and also give other tips on improving sleep. Also, this might not solve your problems entirely. There are always several factors on why humans struggle with sleep. I’m writing this article, because this is often overlooked in our search for a better nights sleep. I’ve already done many other things to improve my nights. For example, I have a very amazing bed and two awesome pillows.