An Unexpected Consequence of Insomnia
The last few months I’ve had trouble sleeping. Sometimes I can’t fall asleep, while other times I wake up at two or three in the morning and can’t get back to sleep. I usually spend a good 45 minutes lying in bed before I get up to do something else to pass the time.
As any parent of a newborn will tell you, normal humans don’t function well on a continuous regimen of three to four hours of sleep per night. Initially, I think it started as a response to stress and changes that were happening at the time. But, most of that has passed now and yet I still can’t sleep. I have read articles and the latest studies about ways to help you fall asleep. I’ve tried a few things including taking Melatonin but nothing seems to help.
Sleep Cycle and Insomnia
My body tends to set itself to an internal clock and stick to it. I’m pretty sure that it’s gotten used to waking up at night and staying awake and that’s why I continue to have a problem. I have the usual issues that someone with insomnia has: I tend to be a forgetful (although for the record I have always been a little forgetful), I can’t think of the right words when I’m talking, I get headaches, and I feel mentally foggy.
However, I’ve noticed another consequence of my insomnia that I never expected. It’s one that has concerned me far more than all of the physical symptoms.
Stuck on a Cell Phone
My problem is I am on my cell phone far too much. When I started waking up at night, I would often read a book, blog posts, or catch up on the news all on my phone. It was a way to pass the time. I started to notice that during the day, in my spare moments, I was continuously looking for more articles to read. My nighttime habit carried over to the daytime. This past week I have tried staying off my phone unless it is necessary.
I can hear many of you now who have read the same articles that I have discussing the negative effects of reading on a computer or cell phone because it can actually keep you awake. I’ve read those articles and I fully understand that the light from the cell phone may be messing up my brain even though it wasn’t the cell phone that was waking me up in the first place.
I’ve always loathed going someplace, looking around me, and seeing everybody with their head down looking at a phone. There’s nothing wrong with spending a little time on the phone but I do have a problem when I’m spending time on my phone that could be spent with my family. That’s not who I want to be.
I never expected a nighttime habit to start giving me trouble during the day…well except for the whole insomnia thing.
Reading a book usually works well for me. So instead of reading books on my phone, I’ve gone to the library and checked out a book. I’m hoping it can help rewire my brain so that it will sleep when it’s supposed to.
Cell Phone Addiction
I don’t think I’m a cell phone addict. I’ve acknowledged the problem before it’s gone on too long and I’ve already taken steps to stop. However, I can easily see how the habit starts.
My children are always asking my husband and me when they can get a phone. We haven’t given them a definitive answer because we are holding off as long as possible. I don’t want my children to be dependent on a phone or other device to entertain themselves. Ideally, they would use it only to communicate when necessary (like that’s going to happen). In my dream world, they would monitor themselves. But frankly, how can I expect them to monitor themselves on a phone if I have a hard time as an adult doing it myself?
Insomnia Be Gone
Like so many others, I enjoy the benefits of a cell phone. I love being able to look up directions as I’m always getting lost. I like being able to research products or look up a phone number from anywhere. I like being able to play Scrabble. But, there also so many things that are negative about a cell phone. I don’t want my evenings turning into everyone sitting around together staring at their phones. I want to talk. I want to laugh. I want to experience life with them not just sit in the same room.
When the time comes for a phone, we’re going to lay down some ground rules. They’ll be the same rules that I follow myself. Hopefully, when that time comes, my kids will be prepared and so will my husband and I. Technology is great. It makes our lives easier in so many ways, but it also has dangers and unexpected consequences.
I hope that by thinking about those consequences now we can help prevent future problems. As for me, I’m going to read a good old-fashioned library book and hope I get some sleep.