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Smartphone Sanity

…Let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us.” (Hebrews 12:1b, CSB)

Most people have heard of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The 12 Steps have been adapted for all sorts of addictions. Step one generally, goes like this: We admitted that we were powerless over our problems-that our lives had become unmanageable.

Addictions don’t always come in the form of a chemical substance.

Imagine this: They can’t stop checking their phone. Every few minutes… Wait! Forget that. Every 60 seconds they’re wondering if anyone has emailed, texted, or put something on social media they need to see. They have a bad, very bad case of FOMO. Yeh, Fear Of Missing Out.

They go to bed at night, but their phone is in their hand. They lie there in the bed and scroll through one or several forms of social media and check their email one more time. Finally, after what seemed to be 5 minutes, but it was 45 minutes, they put the phone down and try to go to sleep. But sleep doesn’t come.

Do you know anyone like this? I do. We don’t have to name them because most of the time they self-confess their phone addiction. To be fair, it’s not the phone they’re addicted to but to the experience of being too connected or to the fear of being disconnected. It is normal to feel anxiety or fear when you are not connected. But with today’s mobile devices, we have become hyper-connected and thus become hyper-anxious at the thought of missing out.

According to the tech company Asurion, Americans check their phones about 100 times a day on average. This can be stifling if you are trying to concentrate on anything for any length of time.

As you can imagine, a hyper-connection with your smartphone can interfere with having a balanced and healthy life. I can’t cite the source, but I read one study that linked the overuse of smartphones and poor sleep, difficulty learning, and even feelings of loneliness. Some have claimed that overuse of smartphones is changing the way our brains are wired and that’s not a good thing.

Perhaps you have been thinking about how to get better control of your time and rest. There is a way to have your smartphone bring some sanity to your life. I’m referring primarily to setting your phone up to help you sleep. I’m going to give you some help.

If you have an iPhone, there is an app already loaded on your phone called the “Health app”. This app has a “sleep focus” setting. You can set this app to help you meet your sleep goals. What it basically does is put your phone on a "do not disturb" to filter out notifications and phone calls. It can even signal to others you’re not available. It will help you to even wind down by giving you time, depending how you want to do it, from 15 minutes to 3 hours before your bedtime.

When it’s time to wake up, the Sleep Focus allows you to select an alarm sound, vibration and a snooze option. I use it in conjunction with my Apple watch. My Apple watch starts shining very dimly 5 minutes before it’s time for me to wake up. By one minute before my wake-up time, it’s shining brightly enough that I’m awake before the alarm.

So if you are an iPhone user. Here is a link with description on how to set up your Sleep Focus in the Health app.

If you would rather view a video of how to do this. Check this one out.

For android users, here is a link with description on how to set up the “Bedtime mode” on an android smartphone.

If you would rather view a video for setting up the android bedtime mode, check this one out. It is specific to Samsung, but should be helpful.

This is just one step in setting a boundary that may help you think better and sleep deeper. Just remember when the phone goes on Sleep or Bedtime mode, don’t override it. Put it down and let it do its job. You need the break from the screens. Read a book. Take a walk. Have a conversation. Go to sleep. You will find some freedom and you will feel better.

You’re welcome.

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