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No Screens Before Bed Challenge – Recap

With May officially over its time to recap how things went on the month long No Screens Before Bed Challenge I was participating in.

First things first – thank goodness it’s over! That was so much more difficult than I originally thought it would to be.

The goal was to not look at any screens past 9:30pm on Sunday-Thursday nights (work nights), and at least an hour before bedtime on weekends such that I would get a full hour of no blue light to see if it helped me to get better sleep.

For the most part, though I missed a couple week nights due to post writing, and a couple weekend nights due to activities with my roommate, I thought I did a pretty good job of sticking to it.

via the app Strides! Love the interface

 

I may have cheated a bit, waking up a little earlier than normal on some mornings to finish up a post (like this morning), but other than that this was all true.

Though the results weren’t necessarily what I was hoping for, there were a few good habits that came out of it, as well as a couple other interesting side effects that I noticed.

Things I Noticed

No Blue Light ≠ Better Sleep

The main reason I started this challenge was to personally test the validity of the reports stating the blue light prior to bedtime was bad for your sleep.

As I felt like I haven’t gotten the best sleep the past 4-5 years, this was something I’ve wanted to try out for a while.

After a month of putting it to the test, unfortunately I have to report back that this did not work for me 🙁 .

All things accounted for; I really did not notice a big difference – if any – with how I slept. Per usual, some nights it was tough to fall asleep, while others it was easy. The periodic waking up in the middle of the night did not subside either.

One thing that was strangely different was that on multiple occasions I would actually wake up naturally before my alarm went off. On these occasions I didn’t feel the need to roll back over for a few minutes and actually would start my day a bit earlier.

Because of this fact, I’m debating in the future to try simply going to bed earlier (since usually I’m already tired by like 9pm anyways) and waking up earlier prior to work to help be more productive and get blog and personal things done. I’ve never been one to wake up early so this would be an interesting one!

While I was disappointed that this didn’t help, it was also slightly relieving, since having to do this every night in order to get good sleep would be a huge hassle.

No Screens Before Bed is a Huge Pain

Every weekday night for the month I had set an alarm for 9:25pm to remind me to put all screens away.

To be honest it was really unnecessary, because for the entire time after I would get home from work it would be hanging over my head!

I usually get back from work around 7-7:30pm (long commutes suck) and still need to prepare/eat dinner, and get everything ready for the next day. I’d hardly have any time to catch up on blog stuff, social media, or other personal things by my 9:30pm deadline!

This was a huge pain to deal with, as I’d always feel pressure to get things in prior to the deadline, when really sometimes it was not necessary.

Oftentimes I’d be mid conversation with people and have to tell them I’d resume the talk tomorrow since my deadline was approaching.

To say the least, if I had to do this every night just in order to get better sleep, it would not be very fun.

Stretch/Yoga/Read More = Success

Another side goal I had was to use that hour before bed to stretch/do yoga to help relax, as well as read in bed prior to falling asleep.

The stretching and yoga part was a success! I did that every single day last month which I was pretty happy about.

While I did not read every night, I read more often than not, and probably more nights combined than over the first four months. Unfortunately I picked a really long book, and still haven’t finished my 3rd book of the year (really need to catch up!).

Oftentimes, I would be super tired prior to bed and only read a few pages before falling asleep!

I Flossed More?

This was a really random one I noticed that was nowhere near my radar for this challenge.

I typically floss maybe 1-2 times per week (generously), but obviously tell my dentist that I floss 3-4 times per week (sorry for any dentists reading!).

I noticed this month though I was flossing at least 4-5 times per week which was awesome.

Typically, I’m a little rushed to go to bed since I would be staying up later than I would want to and had to get up for work in the morning. With the challenge, I had a full hour before bed so I could really take my time and this was one activity I picked up more often.

Definitely a weird one, but hoping I can keep this one up even though the challenge is over!

Less TV or No TV?

The no screens challenge wasn’t just my phone and computer, it also included my TV screen as well.

A few nights it was annoying, as I had to go in my room instead of watch the local Washington Capitals (NHL team) win on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

But other than this, no TV was a breeze.

I’ve noticed that since I began blogging, my TV consumption has really decreased. I’ve just been busier!

Over prior months, I really would only turn it on during the week for background noise, or if my roommate was already watching.

During this month though, with my shortened time before 9:30pm, I don’t think I turned it on during the week at all. Only if my roommate was watching something would the TV be on.

And you know what? I really didn’t miss it.

My new roommate that I mentioned last post actually told me he doesn’t watch TV too often either. It might be a conversation we have this upcoming month as to whether the internet only prices would make sense to cut cable or not.

If we can save a decent amount of money it may be worth getting rid of it if neither of us are watching!

Going Forward

While the no screens challenge failed to give me the results I was seeking, I still think there were several good things that came out of it.

I’m very happy I did finally go through with it and test it out, instead of always wondering whether that was the answer/solution.

I will be for sure getting rid of the 9:30pm deadline, but I do think in general that it’s not a bad idea to give yourself some time to unwind prior to bed without the distraction of a phone. This is something I may continue doing, though not necessarily at exactly 9:30pm.

One tip I was given was to use the Do Not Disturb button on your phone, which will silence any notifications, but allows alarms to still be heard if you use your phone for a morning alarm. I found this to be pretty helpful throughout the month.

I don’t have a follow on challenge for June that I’m participating in, though after reading Adventure Rich’s post about the Summer Adventure Challenge Calendar, I’ll be making a list of hikes I want to accomplish this summer and slowly crossing those off!

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Did you or have you ever participated in the no screens before bed challenge? If so, how did it go? I’d love to hear! Do you have any upcoming challenges for June or the summer?

16 thoughts to “No Screens Before Bed Challenge – Recap”

  1. Nice! I definitely need to give this a try. I go to bed early most days anyway, typically before or around 10pm, and i wake up every morning by 4 am. Typically write for the blog, or work out while the rest of the family is sleeping.

    However, even though i feel i have a pretty solid routine i keep, i do find that outside of work, i spend a lot of time on the phone or computer. Especially YouTube, i need to dial that down a bit. Maybe this could help with that.

    1. Yea it could be worth giving a shot! Definitely tougher than I thought it’d be. Jealous you can get up at 4! Like I mentioned I may try giving the waking up early a shot to help with productivity and see how it works.

  2. Hah I’ve got my own post to write so I won’t say much here, but very much agreed about thinking it’s a good thing in general and wanting to continue it but without the hard deadline. Good thing we decided weeks ago that waking up early totally isn’t cheating so you could get this post out today 😉

    That’s hilarious about the flossing! That didn’t happen for me this month but I think it’s something I’ll start tracking from here on out because I really should do it more often 🙈

    1. Seriously! That picture would’ve been a lot more red had the earlier morning not been included 😂 looking forward to your recap!

      Yes the flossing was so random! But as it’s a good habit I gotta run with it!

  3. Well done! Seems like you learned a lot from it.

    I’m not much of a TV watcher either. Only some sports (the hockey playoffs have been great, you missed out! 😉 ), history, documentaries (Smithsonian channel, etc) and a couple game shows (Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune since they’re on back to back). Seems a lot of people are cutting the cord so that’s something to consider if the savings will be worth it and the two of you can agree on it.

    I find that I sometimes wake up before the alarm as well (and I am NOT a morning person 🙂 ). I think that gets more frequent with age as you settle more into a routine. Seems like I’m 4 to 5 years older than you and I’ve especially noticed this over the last few years.

    1. Thank you! Yes was super bummed to miss those games, but oh well. But definitely will be looking into whether it makes sense or not, if we go through with it definitely will miss it come football time!

      Huh that’s interesting though, I found it super weird as that never really happened to me often. Maybe it’s because we get wiser as we get older 🙂

  4. Kudos for giving it a shot. I just finished the book “Why We Sleep” and you should read it. I will have a book review in the future, but to say it was monumental and changed my entire way of thinking about sleep would be an understatement

  5. It’s insane to think about how much of life is spent in front of a screen. My 40 hour work week is in front of a screen. My ‘keeping up with people’ is in front of a screen. My entertainment is in front of a screen. I guess it’s a bit of a weakness. Your challenge is awesomely done. It’s a feat to stay away.

    1. Thank you! Yea it was so much tougher than I imagined. Totally agree with you by the way as basically my Monday through Friday is spent in front of screens as well.. it’s pretty crazy to think about

  6. Again – a positive side effect of having a kid means we are up early 7 days a week. This has actually been a good thing because we’re on the same schedule week days and weekends and it doesn’t feel bad getting up early any more (though this is only true because we don’t stay up past the kiddo’s bedtime most days).

    1. Haha yes I could imagine.. I think I’m going to give the earlier mornings a shot! I’ve found I can crank out posts much easier in the mornings when I’m fresh instead of at night after a long day of work.. will be interesting to find out!

  7. Thanks for trying this so I don’t have to. I remember when you tweeted this. 🙂
    You should try going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. That might work better for you.
    Good luck!

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