Banning tech from the bedroom

Sunday Blog 129 – 31st March 2024

This week, spurred on by a podcast on sleep hygiene and the horrors of incessant social media, I took decisive action. Definitely no devices in the bedroom. My iPhone, iPad and AirPods are now banished to the study to charge overnight. If I want to use them in the night, I have to get up, walk to the study and then taste the forbidden digital fruit there. Whilst I haven’t opted for a peg on the nose, that may yet come. I’m allowed to read analogue books in the bedroom—that is, paperbacks with real pages, but Kindle books are forbidden because, well, iPad.

It can’t be a coincidence that this resolve descended after a bout of Covid where I binge watched to the end of Succession (meh) and then to the end of the Crown series (excellent). By then, my eyes were on stalks and my ears almost forgot what it was like to be naked to the world, exposed to ambient noises. I arose from my sickbed and swept all electronics aside.

I suddenly saw the wisdom of the endless new book purchases I’ve made over the last few years, either at writing festivals, author events and of course, online. My To Be Read Pile is actually an entire shelf. I have re-badged my incessant impulse book buying as excellent planning for the self-created apocalypse of a digital detox in the bedroom.

I need all of those books from my literary version of doomsday prepping. My persistent habit of nighttime wakefulness is such that, if I wake in the morning and realise I have had an unbroken night’s sleep, I’m almost wildly jubilant. A bit like I’ve managed to successfully execute a headstand in yoga class without either the superhuman effort of puffing and blowing, or a wall as a ballast to prevent me from toppling. Actually, I don’t know what it’s like to execute a headstand without all the above, but you get the idea.

With the zeal of the newly converted, for three nights I stuck to my regime of banishing tech to the study. I have tiptoed up at some point each night at least for a bathroom visit and once I quickly did Wordle on the iPhone before guiltily heading back to bed. Luckily, I can bang on the light in bed and read as much as I need to drift back to sleep.

Then I upset my new regime by booking a getaway in a gorgeous little lodge in Collie with wonderful shared spaces but a tiny room. Tech simply cannot be banished. I’ve had a couple of slips (Wordle and Connections while still in bed) but mainly, I’m pleased to say, I’ve been reading. Maybe this new “me” might stick a little. Maybe I might try some daytime digital detoxing. Right after I master my headstand…

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