If you want to wean yourself off of the need to look at your phone before bed, some deliberate practice ignoring notifications during the day might help.
Photo by davemc.
Your smartphone can keep you up at night for a couple reasons. The blue light of the screen makes it hard for your brain to get sleepy, and notifications can buzz and beep you to waking up. Even with notifications off, however, you might also develop a fear of missing out (FOMO) if you're not in direct contact with your phone.
The anxiety of knowing that you're missing notifications can be almost as bad as getting them all night. Larry Rosen at Harvard Business Review suggests that this exercise can help reduce that need to be in contact with your phone, especially right before bed:
During the day, practice not reacting to incoming alerts or notifications like one of Pavlov's dogs. Don't check your phone every time it beeps. In fact, turn off notifications and check on a schedule to retrain your brain's neurotransmitters (particularly cortisol). Start by checking every 15 minutes, and gradually increase that to 30 minutes or more.
Tell your friends, family and colleagues that you may not be able to respond to them immediately, but you'll get back to them within a certain amount of time if you're worried about it. The key is to intentionally ignore all notifications. Let it buzz so you can shake your need to always be checking it.
Relax, Turn Off Your Phone, and Go to Sleep [Harvard Business Review]