Your cell phone in the bedroom is hurting your relationship!! I may get a little back draft for the following, but in efforts to save marriages, I dont really care. Yep, Baylor, Penn State, and about a hundred more universities have confirmed that your beloved iPhone or Android device has become not only a third wheel, but also a souce of poor quality relationships, personal depression, and even lower life satisfaction. In short, this scenario is called “technoference”. Technology interference in your relationships….
So before I get into the ways this is hurting you and your better half + how to fix it, lets just talk about phones in bed, generally.
If you arent aware, phones before bed cause a variety of physical and mental issues. A recent study of Brigham’s Womens Hospital showed that using a light emitting screen before bed causes your brain to not get into full REM sleep, and as a result, you wake up like a zombie…sound familiar?!?
Devices like mobile phones and tablets emit “blue light” that causes issues with melatonin regulation and production. Melatonin controls your circadian rhythm (body sleep cycle). There are screen filters for this as well, but the best rule of thumb is to not read your phone in the bedroom or tablet 30 minutes before you get ready for bed.
Other issues remain, such as the fact that 72% of people who leave a phone in the room while they sleep get less rest. Sleep.Org says the notifications buzzing, during the night have a horrible detriment on your body being able to relax. Another study shows that the stimulating content on your device will in general keep your brain awake longer, by the fact that you are thinking about what you just read or saw. I could go on, but instead of dwelling on the problem, lets go with some solutions.
You can be a hero, and save your relationship with all this knowledge of using your phone in bed with your spouse. 52% or so of marriages fail…and this phone dilemma isnt going to make this percentage any better. I’ve got 5 ideas to help break the cycle.
- Keep the phones out of the bedroom – Studies have shown the simple fact of putting your phone in another room to charge, or sit will reduce your stress level, and allow you to engage more directly with those around you.
- Schedule “Phone Time” – In this scenario, agree that its ok, or not ok to use at certain times when at home together. Dinner time, kids bed time, etc are good times to put the device away.46% of Americans say they have been a recipient of Pphubbing (Partner Phone Snubbing) which means they have felt ignored or neglected by their partner using technology. I would propose that number may be more like 90%. Don’t be part of the problem, and don’t be so reactive with phone responses and notifications. I promise they can wait.
- Cut off the phone at home – This may seem drastic, but if you aren’t an oncall surgeon, or fire fighter, you can probably afford to save your family by powering your phone off in the evenings, or mornings while being around your family, friends, and spouse. Afterall, if they are around, there probably aren’t many more people that you need to connect with at the moment anyway.
- Do Not Disturb – This one works ok, but at a bare minimum, turn on the DND feature of your phone, so you dont get notifications ever 3 minutes that pull your attnetion from the family and marriage dynamic.
- Make and Effort To Stop – my shortfall is I justify my work from home job as a reason to use my phone, and to o get around the other 4 above. Bad move on my part. I need to be present, and my phone is no excuse. Make intentional steps to not be distracted by your phone. Its not all that important. The media says it is, but really, what is on there, that can’t wait an hour or two, or maybe until the next morning.
To be honest, I actually have a bad habit of waking up and catching up on my work emails, checking my calendar, and of course the social notificaiton clearing – from the bed. My lovely wife likes to see the days coupons, sale emails, and plan her workout schedule.
At one point in our lives we would wake up, talk about the day, snuggle, or even enjoy some morning “festivities”. For the past few years, I would have said our kids are the reason why we dont still do these things, but in retrospect, the more we have used our phones, the more this has happenned.
Dont be offended by someone asking for your attention or to put your phone down. If they ask you do dump the phone, that means they just want you, and not you + your phone. You can actually take it as a compliment. You only have a short time here on earth with your special someone, and if your phone is taking that time away, its seconds, minutes, and days you will never get back.