Weeknight Night Lights
Some research suggests that smartphones are killing your sleep and hurting your productivity:
‘Our new research indicates the greater connectivity comes at a cost: using a smartphone to cram more work into a given evening results in less work done the next day,’ he says.
‘The reason for this, as we’ll explain, is that smartphones are bad for sleep, and sleep is very important to effectiveness as an employee.
‘Unfortunately, smartphones are almost perfectly designed to disrupt sleep.
‘Because they keep us mentally engaged with work late into the evening, they make it harder to psychologically detach from the most pressing cares of the day so that we can relax and fall asleep.
‘Perhaps the most difficult aspect of smartphones to avoid is that they expose us to light, including blue light.
‘Even small amounts of blue light inhibit the sleep-promoting chemical melatonin, meaning that the displays of smartphones are capable of producing this effect.’
I used to be really bad about this. Except that even when I had a Real Job, it wasn’t particularly a matter of late night work. It had more to do with Hit Coffee, and Ordinary Gentlemen, as it still does.
Now, though, I have a more important job than I did then. Or, at least, my performance in the morning is more important than it used to be. When I worked at that large software company, I could wake up, get moving, and the only think I would have to be conscious enough to do for the first hour or two is drive. Now, driving drowsy is driving drunk of course, but it at least lent itself to a waking up progress. The further along I was, the more awake I would become.
Lain, on the other hand, doesn’t want to wait an hour or two in the morning. In fact, the morning is often when she is at her most energetic. She also needs to be fed pretty early. I need to juggle all of this with taking the dog outside, making my breakfast, and a whole lot of other things that become more complicated with a little one.
Shorty after the Lain was born, I found the options on my phone to tell it to shut the hell up after midnight. The ding-dings that used to tell me that someone had commented on something I had written or that I had gotten an email were no longer a petty annoyance but something that would make my next morning more difficult. I am also trying to use it as a reminder to myself that I need to be going to bed.
Along these lines, I’ve started taking more seriously the ways that screen time inhibit sleep. I still look at my smartphone at night, but television is no longer a part of my nightly routine. I also try to keep computer time to a minimum. The phone itself is sent to minimalize lighting in day or night (white text on black backgrounds, on most of the apps I use).
I’ve had somewhat limited success. I no longer wake up in the night to see if I have texts, no longer give my eyes a jolt whenever I look at my screen. But I still have difficulty getting to sleep before 2am. There is so much that I can only really do at night, when the baby is asleep. The baby, despite being energetic in the morning, tends to like to define “morning” as 9 or 10am and defines sleep-time as 11 or 12. It’s a hard habit to get her out of. If I were really on the ball, I would be going to bed right after she does. Unfortunately I fall into the same trap mentioned in the article. I want to get things done, and instead of getting up a couple hours before the baby (which would be better off for all involved, and not by a little) I get a couple of hours done late at night.