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How to get to sleep in your tech-connected home

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The simple 4-step plan to turn your family of sluggish tech zombies into well-rested humans

  
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Discover How to Get to Sleep in Your Tech-Connected Home

The simple 4-step plan to turn your family of sluggish tech zombies into well-rested humans

Just before we reveal how to sleep better, get to sleep at a decent hour and help your family reclaim the happy and healthy balance they deserve, see if the following scenario sounds familiar:

Some people can’t resist the bite of technology.

Once infected with the virus, these tech zombies exist only to feed on the spooky blue glow of their device displays. They spend their days and nights rabidly liking, sharing, commenting and messaging with other digitally dependent undead.

Well, if this sounds like you or your family, we’ve got a simple 4-step plan to help you cut back on technology consumption – at least after sundown.

 

Step 1
3-4 hours before bed: Surf, send emails and make ‘social calls’.

The Great British Bedtime Report found that 22 percent of Britons sleep ‘poorly’, with another 5 percent claiming ‘very poorly’.

Late-night web-browsing activity right before lights out could be one contributing factor. People who surf the web or send texts within 2 hours of bedtime claimed higher levels of stress, according to a LiveScience report.

(Note: The study found an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, between bedtime technology usage and stress. However, display LED rays can make falling asleep tricky – see Step 2.)

Start wrapping up online activity 3-4 hours before your head makes contact with the pillow.

Use this time to catch up across social networks and finish work and online errands. You’re officially starting the wind down process and preparing your brain and body for blessed slumber.

 

Step 2
2 hours before bed: Shut down all technology.

Computer and tablet screens emit blue light, the same visible light present in sunrays. Studies have drawn a connection between interrupted sleep patterns and exposure to LED screens.

Always try to give yourself a 2-hour period of screen-free relaxation leading up to bedtime.

Giving yourself a break from the blue light allows your body to recognize that it’s nighttime and sleep is coming soon.

 

Step 3
1 hour before bed: Charge devices and laptops in another room.

Remove temptation by charging your devices in an area of the house other than your bedroom.

You won’t be able to easily reach for your tablet or mobile should sleep come later than expected.

And your early hours won’t be disrupted by your handset randomly beeping and buzzing with calls, texts and social media updates.

So, what are you expected to do now? Just stare at the cracks in your ceiling?

Spend your last waking hour feeding your brain with non-digital nourishment. Crack a book, pen a memoir, reflect on short- and long-term goals, graduate to Sudoku-ninja status....

 

Step 4
Bedtime: Turn off the lights.

Set your alarm (you don’t have your mobile in your room anymore, remember?). Switch off your lamp. Now feel the beauty that is a soft bed in a dark room.

If sleep evades, stay strong and resist the urge to fetch your gadget.

Use this time to engage in brain-settling exercises like deep breathing, meditation, visualization or reading in dim light (and nothing complex, save Ulysses for your commute).


How to make healthy habits stick

Learning how to get to sleep at a reasonable time is one thing; making those 4 steps a nightly habit is quite another. How do you replace bad habits with healthy ones?

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author of The Power of Habit Charles Duhigg says that each habit consists of three parts: cue, routine and reward.

Your new habit must follow a trigger. The trigger could be dinnertime. Once the meal is finished, that’s your family’s nightly cue to begin the 4-step routine of gradually ‘unplugging’ themselves from their devices.

The rewards are many.

After a couple of nights of undisturbed sleep, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. Give it more time, and the results could look a lot like reduced anxiety, elevated mood levels, increased productivity and weight loss.

 

Commitment is key

These 4 steps may take a little while to master. But, after making the commitment for a few weeks (some say it takes 66 days), it will become second nature.

One of the stunning benefits of technology is its accessibility. However, it’s that very 24-hour convenience that can turn your days into Night of the Living Dead. Follow these tips, and your family will soon be feeling human again.


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