Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sleep Tips: Unplug the Alarm Clock

Out of the five W's we are taught in school, the most important one to me has always been "When?"   I like to know what time it is, how much time I have left and how much time has passed.

On my wedding day, the most important element of the day of schedule was how long the ceremony would take.  I wanted to know at what point I would be married and past the nerve-wrecking part of the day. In short, I'm a very time-centric person.

A few weeks ago, I was looking over old entries of this blog and there was one theme that popped up with regular frequency: "If your home is your castle, then your bedroom is your innermost sanctuary. You spend more time in your bedroom than any other place in your home. It should be a place of comfort and relaxation -- a well-thought out bedroom will help you get better sleep, and you will feel much healthier and happier for it!"

One of the tips from Jennifer Adams for getting a better night's sleep is to clear the room of technology that may be a source of distraction or sleep disruption.  This includes televisions, hand-held devices and laptops.  For me, this obviously meant unplugging the alarm clock.

I was interested to see just how often I looked at the alarm clock.  For the first week, I took a cue from diet programs and kept an informal journal of how often I woke up in the night to focus on the alarm clock.  The first night, it was about seven times.  I woke up SEVEN times to learn how long I have slept and how much more time I had to get some zzz's. I interrupted my sleep to learn how much more I can have.

It was at that moment that I realized I needed to make a change and break my bond with the alarm clock.  The nightstand beside my bed has three shelves.  The alarm clock and bedside lamp are on the top.  The second shelf holds my various journals while the third contains the books I am currently reading.

The first week, I moved the alarm clock to the second shelf.  This shelf is just below the bed level, which means I would have to make an effort to roll over and look down to view the alarm clock.  The second week, I dropped it down to the third level, where I would have to roll over, look down and tilt the alarm clock up towards me.

This week, I unplugged the device and put it away in a closet. By removing the alarm clock, my bedroom has become a place of comfort, relaxation and sleep.  My bedroom has become my sanctuary.

Here are a few tips if you are considering eliminating the alarm clock in your life:

1) Need an Alarm Clock to Wake Up?
Consider putting the device in an adjoining bathroom or closet.  Turning the alarm clock so it faces the wall or using a wind-up will produce excellent benefits.

2) Don't Go Cold Turkey
If you are one of those people that can alter your routine or habits in the blink of an eye, I applaud you . . . and I'm incredibly jealous.  Take little steps, like I did with the shelves, to break the habit of having an alarm clock in the room.

3) Using Other Devices as Alarm Clocks
Many people use their phones, tablets or i-devices as their alarm clocks.  The idea of a completely tech-free room is a bit counter-culture for everything is mobile and boundaries get blurred. You can continue to use those devices as an alarm clock, but consider putting them on the other side of the room at least 30 minutes before bed and out of your immediate reach in the morning.  Studies have shown that artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Besides, there are good reasons to resist the urge to check email, read your social media outlets prior to getting out of bed.

The most important tip is to find ways to use your bedroom for relaxation, sleep and romance.  It may mean unplugging in order to fully unwind.

Let me know how your "unplug" goes!

Until next time!
--Weegee Sachtjen

Image Courtesy of BHG.com

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 8:45 AM 

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