We all know that opening our work emails at home is a bad habit. Yet reading and responding to emails every time your iPhone dings is worse than you might realize. Not only are you extending the workday, but you are also sacrificing your ability to perform on a daily basis.
Hopping on your smartphone after 9 p.m. to answer work-related emails can ruin even the best night's sleep. Michigan State University professor Russell Johnson recently discovered that smartphones impact sleep more than any other technology. Participants in his study all experienced disrupted sleep when using their phones before bed. Their dreams were interrupted, and they struggled to complete vital REM cycles.
Yet the problems didn't end there. Those who worked from their phones in the evening also exhibited poor work performance the following morning. After a fitful night of sleep, they were unable to focus and struggled to stay engaged while attempting to tackle tasks.
With much of our daily life spent staring at screens while working hard, it's imperative that we take a mental break to recharge. The less time we devote to doing nothing, the less attention we can give to our work the next day.
While you might have been warned to turn the TV off before heading to bed, it's more important to keep your smartphone out of sight. Smartphones are a bigger sleep-stealing culprit than other devices due in part to their design.
Unlike tablets, laptops, and televisions, your phone is made to steal your attention whether you're awake or not. We typically keep them by our side, placing them near our heads while we sleep. As Harvard's Health Letter points out, the bright blue light smartphones emit interferes with our sleep cycle, even when we're not awake.
Although the bright light of any device's screen can have negative side effects, it's best to keep your smartphone out of sight at bedtime. Prevent potential distractions by turning off all notifications and their noises, or better yet, use the do not disturb option if your device has one.
If you can't live without your phone nearby, place it facedown on your nightstand to minimize any potential light from the screen, try inverting your device's colors, or use apps like Twilight or CF.lumen to change the color temperature of your screen from a rest-disturbing blue to a sleep-inducing red.
Whether you're trying to end phantom phone vibrations or attempting to disconnect from social media, sometimes, we just need a break from technology. Let your brain recharge each night, and you'll find the energy to take on tasks both tomorrow and beyond.