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Would you like to transform your sleep in 30 days?
Yes, I want to sleep!

One of my top rules for sleep coaching clients is no screen time at least 30 minutes before bed (ideally 2 hours). There are two reasons for this – firstly there is a higher level of brain stimulation when using screens and secondly the blue light can delay the onset of sleep. 

“Compared to reading a printed book in ambient light, a half-hour exposure to iPads decreased subjective sleepiness and delayed slow-wave brain activity during sleep by about 30 minutes, as measured by EGG”. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27448477

We all know this to be true but when it comes to implementing the rule for yourself it can be super challenging. The screen habits are deeply ingrained and hard to kick!

A simple way to get started is to set your alarm at the time you aim to turn of the screens. That helps you to remember and be strict with yourself. Secondly, write down each day what time you turned off screens and about your sleep time and sleep quality. It helps a) to be accountable and b) to see patterns emerging.

You also need to find something else to do. To help you and my sleep coaching clients, I’ve listed 50 ways to fill your evenings without screens!

Try replacing screens with one of the activities below for at least 2 weeks to see if it makes any difference. 

50 things to do without screens before bed

  1. Read a book, a magazine or a newspaper
  2. Write a page in a journal or a gratitude journal – 10 things I’m grateful for
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Enjoy a tranquil bike ride
  5. Organise your week
  6. Talk to your housemate, partner, children about their day 
  7. Enjoy time with friends
  8. Have a bath or a shower 
  9. Tidy a room: your bedroom, children’s bedroom, kitchen, storage, garage, attic, basement, …
  10. Think about or plan a future travel or trip
  11. Prepare your lunch for the next day or set the table for tomorrow’s breakfast 
  12. Bake some cookies or a cake for the office or your children 
  13. Make yourself a cup of hot milk with honey or a herbal tea or bed time tea
  14. Read cook books for inspiration or try new recipes
  15. Draw something – even if you think you suck at drawing – or paint a still life (again you don’t need to be “creative” to paint)
  16. Listen to music, the radio or a podcast
  17. Write a letter to someone
  18. Meditate or do some breathing exercises
  19. Do yoga or stretch
  20. Do fitness exercises – plank, sit ups, press ups, touch your toes, exercises with a ball
  21. Learn to juggle, to hoola hoop, to perform magic tricks
  22. Train your balance and concentration slacklining (possible in a park if in the city)
  23. Take care of your pets
  24. Learn a language
  25. Give yourself a beauty treatment
  26. Give or receive a massage
  27. Call a relative or a friend
  28. Do a jigsaw puzzle
  29. Play cards or a board game
  30. Do a sudoku or a crossword (not online)
  31. Sew or knit a scarf, hat or jumper
  32. Make a list of the things you want to do tomorrow, next week, next month and next year
  33. Water your plants or do some light gardening: pull out weeds, prune flowers, …
  34. Practice a musical instrument
  35. Discover some new music or sing along to your favourite music
  36. Use the Business Model Canvas to plot your next business idea
  37. Tinker or repair something
  38. Vacuum your car
  39. Do some maintenance work, for example fixing your bike
  40. Watch birds or other animals (also possible in the city)
  41. Hang out the laundry or iron
  42. Browse the unread books on your bookshelf 
  43. Sort your old clothes or books and find some things to give to the charity shop or to friends
  44. Organize or leaf through photo albums (alone or with your partner or children) 
  45. Make your home-made cleaning products and cosmetics
  46. Invite your neighbours for dinner
  47. Create a character for a short story – draw them and/or write about them
  48. Try on different outfits and choose one for the next day
  49. Prepare your sports or swimming gear
  50. Prepare you & your bedroom for a restful night’s sleep – for example – turn off the lights, light a candle, diffuse essential oils, remove screens and electrical devices from your bedroom, put on your favourite pyjamas, wash your face, moisturise, brush your teeth, floss your teeth, do a couple of stretches, think back about your day, be grateful and repeat your positive affirmation (more on that later).

Feedback welcome!

What has worked for you to avoid screens in the evening?

How long can you go without screens before going to bed?

Do you find you sleep better when you avoid screens before bed?

Email me: dot@sleepability.be