The other night, I found myself suddenly waking up in the middle of the night. When I woke, my immediate reaction was to grab my phone to check and see what time it was. Based on my standards, I had slept at a decent hour — I was in bed before 11pm — so I assumed that it may have been close to the time that I’d be actually waking up…It wasn’t. It was 1am.
Disappointed by the fact that I was now wide awake, I began scrolling through my Twitter account, then proceeded to checking Instagram, then Facebook, then Medium, then my email account, my bank account, and all of the other apps that I would typically open throughout the day.
Three whole hours passed by and instead of going right back to sleep, which would have been the smarter, more reasonable thing to do, I had wasted that time entirely on my phone for absolutely no reason.
What the urgency was to check if I had any updates, I have no clue. I mean, what couldn’t have waited until tomorrow anyways?
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time that this type of thing had happened. Periodically, I have one or two nights throughout the week where I wake up randomly in the middle of the night and perform the same exact routine. Then, I kick myself the next day for getting such inconsistent, terrible sleep from the night before.
What is it about our phones that keeps us up at night?
Well, for one thing, it’s having that direct connection to the outside world — Having the ability to get live updates in real time at every second of every hour. However, having this power can be a dangerous thing because the fact of the matter is,
The internet doesn’t sleep, but we probably should.
We need to fight the urge to pick up our phone.
And that doesn’t even apply just to when we wake up in the middle of the night. It applies to when we are hanging out with our friends, spending time with our families, when we’re at dinner, at the movies, at church, on vacation, or wherever we are that requires us to be present.
After all, how awkward is it when you’re with someone and you’re paying full attention to them, but they’re just sitting there staring at their phone?
No one likes being blatantly ignored.
We’re so used to responding so quickly to texts, emails, phone calls, calendar invites, comments, likes, tweets, posts, etc. that it distracts us from what’s going on in real life. The constant contact is endless. And it can very much become a real addiction, burden, and stress.
We need to resist the urge to check our phones because we’ll overlook what’s happening right in front of our faces.
We need to fully unplug once in a while.
There are times when I’m actually glad that my phone dies. Sad to admit, however, I do typically have my cell phone charger with me literally all the time so, I’m never really 100% unplugged— I mean, I do live in New York and sometimes I get nervous that something horrible could happen where I’ll need to contact someone.
But, the times when I have actually powered off of my own terms and completely unplugged have been the most liberating and refreshing moments.
We need to unplug from technology once in a while just to take a break from constantly being in the know, checking social media, or our emails.
We need to rest our eyes.
We need to learn how to be with ourselves once in a while. We need to learn how to be in the moment and take things in without feeling the need to capture it in a photo or video.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it ”— Ferris Bueller
We need to learn how to take our time to respond.
Everything happens at lightning speed over the internet. Information is sent in just a matter of seconds, but just because it happens that quickly doesn’t mean that we need to match that speed.
I work in an industry where quick responses and a quick turnaround is basically expected at all times. Everything needs to get done right away for the sake of the business…But, life isn’t a business — It needs to be experienced.
We need to get out of the habit of feeling like everything needs to be checked on or responded to right away. We need rest.
Again, the internet doesn’t sleeps, but we probably should.