Sleeping With The Enemy - Your Phone Is The New Mistress

Have you been having trouble sleeping? Do you spend a lot of time on your phone or computer?

It could be that it's your phone keeping you awake, waiting for that next message or post. It's keeping your mind swirled with the reward of seeing what's next. She's the demanding mistress who wants all of your attention with none of the rewards.

All the while, it's tricking your brain into thinking you're happy by giving you a small dopamine dump.

It said the average person spends a little over 3 hours on their phone every day, with younger people having a much higher rate.

Are You Addicted To Your Phone?

Even though your phone is connected to the internet, studies show cell phone addiction is distinctly different from internet addiction. The fact you can take your phone anywhere and have many of your apps connect to social media strongly influences this particular use.

cellohoneParticularly in young people, cell phone addiction goes beyond a cultural or socioeconomic status. We can't say one group of people has a greater chance of addiction than others, but it has more to do with self-identity and habit.

There's a clear delineation between behavior and mental states with an addiction when a person is with their cell phone and without. Research is unclear whether it's the cell phone itself or the apps contained on the phone that causes the bigger problem. But, without rules, control, or delineations, behavioral changes do happen. Notably, loss of control and anxiety when taken away from the addiction.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you reach for your phone when bored or alone?
  • Do you wake up at night to check your phone?
  • Do you feel anxious, upset, or short-tempered when you can't get to your phone?
  • Have you had an accident or injury because you were looking at your phone?
  • Has your phone interfered with your job performance, schoolwork, or relationships?

cellphoneIf you say yes to any of these, you might be addicted.

The Blue Light Controversy

Blue light is a central component of how well you see your phone. But, it can cause severe changes to your brain, resulting in a depression of melatonin, which can prevent you from sleeping well and cause other physical changes. We have a good article on how your skin is affected by blue light you might want to read.

FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out

One aspect of this addiction is the Fear Of Missing Out, created by the pleasure that you receive every time your phone has a new update. Researchers specifically studied this aspect on social media.

The research showed is that every time something new posts on social media, whether it be a tweet, post, blog, or ping, a person addicted to social media gets a small rush of dopamine as a reward for looking at the new information. Dopamine makes you feel good, so to get more of that rush, you seek out the latest posts.

It's very similar to heroin addiction or how a new relationship can make you feel. And unfortunately, it can be just as hard to break.


How To Break Your Phone Addiction

Becoming break your cell phone habit

  • Certain apps can help you monitor your time and habits. Use them part of the time or all the time to monitor what you do.
    • Space. Set goals and track your progress to manage your habits.
    • Moment. Short, daily exercises help you use your phone better.
    • Flipd. Lock away distracting apps.
    • Screentime. Set daily usage limits on your phone or specific apps.
  • Purposely set aside time to turn off notifications or the internet. Start small, only doing overnight or specific times during the day, such as at meals.
  • Set aside a specific day of the week to not look at your phone. If it is your primary phone, keep it in a location that you can easily hear the ringer, but otherwise, do not touch it.
  • Detox – choose a specific timeframe. Usually 30 days, did you have more on your phone but use it as a phone or text machine take your smartphone to a dumb phone.
  • Keep your phone out of your bedroom. Keeping your sleeping place free of distractions will help you sleep.