For Jack Sommers, the answer to this question is yes.
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Like most of us, Sommers would turn to his smartphone when he had trouble sleeping. In his words, the phone’s bright screen “is a portal to other worlds.” His phone had become his go-to thing every night.
Sure, most of Twitter is bile, but social media suits my exhibitionist spirit; I want to be front and centre of whatever conversations are happening. As a journalist, I am meant to be. When I said I wanted to get my phone out of my bedroom, a colleague half-jokingly asked : “What if something happens?”
So I read when I should have slept. I read funny takes on the latest meme. I read takedowns of Donald Trump’s latest outburst. I read people I thought I respected making excuses for cruelty as casually as cruelty seems to be creeping into public life. I read sombre updates on fresh tragedies. I did not see the link between bingeing on horror and not sleeping.
My first attempts to sleep better meant keeping the phone close. I downloaded an app of soothing noises, listened to a crackling fire through headphones and, when this didn’t work, turned it to full volume, which your phone warns can damage hearing. It makes as much sense as deciding that, because a campfire isn’t warm enough, you should put your face on it.
After a time, Sommers found himself sitting in a gallery cafe with his mom and sister, as he explained his desire to rid himself of the phone. But he needed its one unarguably crucial function: the alarm. Two days later, however, he would be unwrapping a retro alarm clock from the gallery shop, and it would change his life for the better.
At home, I slapped in the AAA battery, set the time and wound the alarm hand round to 6am. That was it. My iPhone is more powerful than Apollo 11 and made things worse: how was this going to help? But the difference was immediate. That night I left the phone on my living room sofa, wondering whether I would last the night without coming to get it. I went to bed. I remember nothing of what happened next. I must have fallen asleep too quickly.
Since then, I have slept fine. The phone’s absence is soothing. Despite still feeling stress, I have not yet felt I have to get my phone in the middle of the night and bring the world rushing in to stave off bad thoughts. I have even slept through my triggers for not sleeping, like going to bed less than seven hours before when I have to get up, which used to lead to me lying awake reflecting how I could no longer get seven hours’ sleep.
What are your thoughts on this one?
(Image Credit: StockSnap/ Pixabay)