Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

smartphone-1894723_1920When I was growing up, there was an embroidered picture that hung in my room. It was the Lord’s prayer…Now I lay me down to sleep…I would look at that picture, be reminded to pray, close my eyes and fall asleep. Today, if I wanted to get that message across, forget the picture, I would need a prompt on my cell phone!

According to a recent Barna Update, more than 8 of 10 parents say their teens take their cell phone to bed; with preteens, the number is 7 in 10! And the survey confirms that most are not using a Bible or devotional app as they attempt to drift into sleep.

The question is, do we want to kiss our cell phone goodnight? Is this the proper place for technology–in the bed? Considering how important sleep is for all of us, we need to rethink whether or not cell phones in our beds are the best way to lay me down to sleep!

Experts tell us not to look at digital screens before bed, to actually avoid digital media in order to prepare our bodies for sleep. In addition, they warn against looking at screens in the middle of the night, to turn off notifications, ringers and social media notifications. Anyone who has their phone by their side at night knows that the sound of a notification wakes you up and you look at it. But the light from the cell phone awakens your brain and says, time to start the new day!

Interrupted sleep prevents the body from doing what it needs to do. During sleep, our body removes harmful wastes from cellular metabolism and neutralizes them. Our brain is active, not asleep,  and helps us become more creative and productive when we awaken. Sleep helps in decision-making, organizes and solidifies long term memories, and helps us learn better. So if the light of a phone is keeping you or your child awake, or interrupting your sleep, you could be jeopardizing learning.

So, kiss your cell phone goodnight. Find another “bed” to store it in for the night.Maybe one in another room.  Unplug, avoid stimulants such as candy, caffeine and nicotine and yes, digital media! Don’t get into upsetting conversations on social media and then expect to be able to rest. Put the phone away and practice good sleep hygiene: Take a warm shower or bath, organize your wardrobe for the next day, read a book, or meditate on the Lord. And teach your children the art of relaxation, unplugging and preparing their bodies to do what they need to do–sleep, rest and repair! Your cell phone can handle the nightly separation. The question is, can you?

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