TT #1: Don't Sleep With Your F#$%ing Phone!
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Tuesday Tips #1: Don't Sleep With Your F#$%ing Phone!
TL;DR Tip: Delay using your phone as late as you can in the day. This makes it easier to control your usage throughout the day because you’re not immediately becoming addicted to the dopamine hits first thing in the morning. One of the best ways to achieve this is to not sleep next to your phone.
Now the long version for those who are more interested…….
Explaining why its important to not sleep with your phone requires a little background on why we’re addicted to our phones in the first place.
Because it's not an accident. Our addiction has been carefully engineered by social media companies using decades-old psychological techniques. And it primarily relies on one simple chemical: Dopamine.
Commonly misunderstood as the “pleasure” chemical, dopamine is actually the “motivator” chemical.
Through various techniques, the apps on our phones constantly trigger dopamine release in our brains. As our brains release more and more dopamine, we get addicted (i.e. motivated) to search for more.
The constant dopamine hits and overstimulation from scrolling on our phones is a vicious cycle - after getting our first hit of dopamine, we want another. Then we want more. And more. And more.
Once we’re in the cycle, it’s extremely difficult to break.
There are very few things that release dopamine quite as effectively as our phones. So once we get in the cycle, it makes tasks that don’t release the same amount of dopamine (i.e. productive tasks we want to do) seem borderline unbearable.
We’re not motivated to do those productive tasks because they don’t trigger the motivator chemical - dopamine - as effectively as our phones.
That’s why it seems impossible to go more than a few minutes without checking our phone, even without a notification. We’re subconsciously searching for more dopamine.
But remember - dopamine isn’t pleasure. So even though our phones trigger dopamine, we don’t actually get pleasure from it (mostly).
But there is a bright side: our addiction to dopamine is largely short-term.
The chemical addiction to our phones isn’t as strong as other substances like drugs or alcohol. It resets fairly well overnight.
That’s why one of the most effective ways to control your phone use is to delay it as long as possible at the beginning of the day. This is when you have the most restraint because you haven’t started the dopamine addiction cycle.
So my advice: don’t sleep with your phone next to your bed.
If you wake up and immediately start scrolling (like most of us - myself included sometimes still), you’ve immediately lost all control.
And it’s not your fault. Dopamine is powerful. It’s one of the most important aspects of evolution that have allowed our species to survive and persevere through extremely tough conditions.
But it’s what keeps you addicted to your phone as well.
So try to delay using your phone as late as possible in the day. I try to wait 1-2 hours before I look at my phone, or at least apps that trigger dopamine (social media, email, etc.)
A common thing people say is “but I need my phone for my alarm clock”. To that, I have two responses:
1) Buy a cheap alarm clock on Amazon or
2) Put your phone on airplane mode so when you wake up you don’t start scrolling.
Delaying phone use is one of the most powerful ways to control your phone use, and in my opinion, actually one of the easiest for the reasons I mentioned above.
This is why Tuesday Tip #1 is: Don’t sleep with your f@#$ing phone!