One of my top rules for sleep coaching clients is no screen time at least 30 minutes before bed (ideally 1 hour). 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 engrained and hard to kick!
A large study found that “higher electronic media consumption was strongly linked to poor overall sleep quality, including worsening bedtime resistance, sleep anxiety, and daytime sleepiness.” We know that it’s true, but we’ve got into very bad habits that are hard to break.
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 it for at least 10 days in a row to see if it makes any difference.
50 things to do without screens before bed
- Read a book
- Read a magazine
- Go for a walk
- Write a page in a journal
- Write a gratitude journal – 10 things I’m grateful for
- Tidy your bedroom
- Talk to your housemate, partner, children about their day
- Prepare your lunch for the next day
- Draw something – even if you think you suck at drawing
- Have a bath
- Listen to music
- Listen to the radio
- Listen to a podcast
- Write a letter to someone
- Do yoga
- Do a jigsaw puzzle
- Read cook books for inspiration
- Learn to juggle
- Give yourself a beauty treatment
- Try on different outfits and choose one for the next day
- Have a shower
- Call a relative
- Call a friend
- Buy a fitness ball and use that
- Do fitness exercises – plank, sit ups, press ups, touch your toes (search for home workout ideas on the internet)
- Find some things to give to the charity shop
- Find a book to lend to a friend
- Bake some cookies for the office or your children
- Play a board game
- Knit a scarf, hat or jumper
- Paint a still life (again you don’t need to be “creative” to paint)
- Make a list of the things you want to do tomorrow, next week, next month and next year
- Hang out the laundry
- Water your plants
- Learn to hoola hoop
- Practice a musical instrument
- Listen to some new music
- Sing along to your favourite music
- Do a sudoku (not online)
- Do a crossword (not online)
- Make yourself a cup of hot milk with honey
- Make yourself a herbal tea or bed time tea
- Create a character for a short story – draw them and/or write about them
- Use the Business Model Canvas to plot your next business idea
- Do some breathing exercises
- Give or receive a massage
- Browse the unread books on your bookshelf
- Prepare you & your bedroom for a restful night 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).
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?
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