11 Reasons to Embrace a Technology-Free Bedroom

technology-free-bedroom

“Where do we live, and what do we live for?” 

Our world is changing rapidly. Often times, for the better. Advancing technology provides new opportunity for us to stay informed, connected, entertained, and engaged. Technology is becoming smaller, lighter, and more portable. And these are good things. I fully embrace the opportunity that they provide.

But an unintentional side effect of the ever-increasing portability of technology is that it continues to make inroads into areas of our lives where it offers more distraction and harm than benefit. Dinner tables, conversations, and relationships just to name a few. Because of this, it is wise for us to take opportunity to pull back and evaluate if there are areas of our life where technology is doing more harm than good.

With that as the backdrop, is it possible there are areas of our homes that would benefit from the absence of technology (TV, Laptops, iPads, Video games) too? Mindfulness and scientific research seem to support this assumption.

Benefits of a Technology-Free Bedroom

1. More/Better Sleep.

The studies on this issue continue to surface on a consistent basis. The more TV people watch before bedtime, the less sleep they get. In this case, studies confirm what we already know to be true: the lure of the screen is just too strong for many to turn off. Additionally, artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

2. More Conversation.

For married couples, some of your most important, intimate conversations will take place in your bedroom during the waning hours of the day… unless of course, the laptop is sitting on your lap instead.

3. More Conscious Reflection.

The evening provides valuable opportunity to meditate, evaluate, and assess your day. This examination leads to better learning from our mistakes and growing as humans. It is a far worthier cause than pursuing entertainment—and the exchange of it is a foolish transaction.

4. More/Better sex.

Couples who keep a TV in the bedroom have sex half as often as those who don’t. And spouses who choose to interact with one another on an emotional level have better, more fulfilling sex. In other words, there are more stimulating behaviors available in the bedroom than playing Angry Birds.

5. More Reading.

Light reading in the evening helps many fall asleep faster. But even if it doesn’t help you sleep, the benefits of reading still far outweigh the benefits of mindless technological consumption. Removing the television, laptop, Ipad, or phone from your bedroom will almost always naturally encourage more reading in your life.

6. More Mindfulness in the Morning.

Others have covered this topic well: there are good reasons not to check your email first thing in the morning. Additionally, checking Facebook/Twitter before putting your feet on the floor could be argued against with the same rationale.

7. More Relationship within Family.

At any age, removing technology from bedrooms fosters interaction. I’m not against the use of technology in our homes, I do it everyday. But rather than retiring to our separate bedrooms for homework, Internet-surfing, television, or video games, keeping technology in the living areas of our homes encourages greater interaction. It also aids in monitoring the online activities of our children.

8. Less Sleep-Texting.

The fact that our world is experiencing a rise in people sending revealing and embarrassing texts in their sleep ought to give us pause to seriously reconsider the habits we have embraced.

9. Less Accessibility.

Few of us need to live our lives accessible to others at all times of the day. Text alerts, Facebook notifications, Twitter mentions, and emails are often nothing more than distractions that keep us from the world right in front of us. They clutter our mind with nonessential information. Keeping your bedroom as a notification-free zone results in a more peaceful, engaged, calming environment. And it allows space for our minds to separate from the day’s activities.

10. Less of the Emotions Attached to Social Media.

The studies are not healthy. People who spend time on social media tend to experience higher levels of envy, loneliness, frustration, and anger. Social media interaction holds some benefit. But if we can intentionally remove these unhealthy emotions from our bedroom, I’ll argue for that any day.

11. Rooms serve purposes.

Rooms serve purposes: kitchens are for cooking, dining rooms are for eating, and offices are for working. The better we define those rooms and their purposes, the more productive they become. Use your bedroom for better relaxation, sleep, and sex by taking the laptops, video games, and televisions out of them.

The idea of a technology-free bedroom is a counter-cultural thought. And for many, the typical response to the idea of embracing it will be met with all the reasons it is simply not possible:

  • “My phone is my alarm clock.”
  • “I need to check the weather in the morning.”
  • “I read on my Ipad in bed.”
  • “I have to watch my TV or I can’t fall asleep.”

But the benefits of a technology-free bedroom should not be overlooked and dismissed so quickly. Besides, most of our excuses can be overcome with some creative thinking and extra intentionality—which help stand as another important reminder:  Technology ought to serve us, not the other way around.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. says

    We never put a TV in our bedroom, but we never needed to with our iDevices. They’re too accessible where they are now, and we find that if we wake up at 2 AM, that is what we grab. i think our new goal might be a technology free bedroom!

  2. says

    I was just talking to my partner, Thenix, about this a few days ago! We live in a tiny condo, 450 square foot, which is perfect for our needs. But it means, it is basically one big room, with a short divider for the bedroom. He works from home, so we have an home office in the living room.
    I like the fact that the bedroom even though small has nothing related to work in it. We don’t have a TV, any computers or books in the bedroom. Just our clothes and the bed. This makes the separation of work time from rest time really easy.

  3. says

    Great write up. This is one of the big changes I’ve made. I used to take my laptop to bed with me, check my email, look at social media, watch videos on my phone. No. No. No. Not anymore. I head to bed giving myself at least 30 minutes of free reading, or writing in my journal if I haven’t already. It has allowed me to sleep better at night and wake up feeling refreshed and energized!

  4. says

    My wife and I have never had a TV or bring tech in our bedroom. We recently even got rid of the clock (thankfully neither of us need to be up at a specific time for work either). It’s awesome.

  5. says

    I agree with almost all of these, but I do bring my phone to bed (to use as an alarm) and I check my email/social media in the morning as I’m waking up. On one hand I understand the arguments against doing that, but I also know that it’s working for me and that I’m able to do that when I wake up and then jump right into my “need-tos” for the day when my feet hit the floor.

    I guess what I really need is an experiment to NOT do it and see how that affects my day. But first I need an alarm clock!

  6. says

    We never had a TV in our bedroom and thankfully our internet connection is so bad that it does not work in there. I do use my phone as an alarm clock – but only keep it switched off in the bedroom. Totally agree with you that there are far better things we can do in this room! :-)

  7. says

    I have never had a tv in my room. I do use my phone as an alarm clock but it is not a smart phone, does that count? Also, I read in bed on my kindle fire (books) but I am thinking this fits into the reading category? I don’t have much obsession with technology anyway, but I do think it is a good idea to keep it out of the bedroom.
    Kate

  8. says

    Last night, my wife and I went out to our Valentine’s dinner and ended up having an interesting conversation with the waitress. She said she could usually tell the married couples apart from others because they were the ones who were disengaged, looked bored, and had their heads buried, playing with their cell phones. It was such a sad testament to our culture, but I’m thankful my wife and I go to dinner to simply spend time with each other and not our technology.

  9. Alexis says

    I live in a studio to live with a lesser footprint and save money. My TV is near the bed but is never on at bedtime. I have my wireless set up in the same room and computers but I have a rule I never take technology to bed. I am a reader and sleep is to important. Your eyes, brain and nervous system needs to be off technology and tv screens at least 2 hours before bed to rest correctly. Most people do not realize the damage that staring at screens is doing to their eyes. I am LOL at the sex comment as many of us are single.

  10. says

    I do appreciate many of the benefits of technological advances, but I fear that some of it is de-humanizing us…. It pains me when I drive by a school bus stop in the morning and see the majority of heads buried in text messaging. There is no human conversation. I pass people who are walking on the bike path and I say, “Hello.” They are too busy staring into a computer screen to acknowledge me. While technology opens many doors of information, we must be careful not to let it close the human soul. I still find more wonder in the sunrise and in counting the stars at night than I ever would watching TV, text messaging or walking around with a cell phone stuck to my ear. The core of existence is still God-given, and it is free. Dayenu!

  11. Allen says

    Good list. But regarding #5, if I remove my iPad, I cannot read. As a beginning and maturing minimalist, I am purchasing Kindle books instead of paper-based books.

  12. joyy says

    I use my phone as my alarm clock also, but I moved the charger to my bookshelf across the room, turn it to silent (with the alarm set to ring through regardless), and place it screen-down on the shelf. Tech-free? No, but it solved the problem of sitting up at night texting (especially given how bright the screens are) or laying in bed instead of getting up right away because I can check weather, email, etc.

    My laptop also lives in the bookshelf since I have a roommate and sometimes like to watch movies as I clean my room or put away laundry. I do need to cut out the pre-sleep tv watching on it though – I should switch to music instead maybe …

  13. says

    What an excellent post. It’s something that I’ll chat about with my fiancee tonight. In Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, she mentions something like; if we’re too tired to stay up (in the living room) and watch TV, then we should go to sleep. When we’re too tired, we take the laptop with us and mindlessly watch TV – hopefully we can change that for the better.

  14. says

    I hope you are OK with e-readers. We rely on them so one of us can read with the lights off and the other can try to sleep. Dr. Andrew Weil has a nice piece on Huffington Post this week about how technology disconnects us from life. I highly recommend it!

  15. says

    We went technology free for 5 months in the bedroom but it did not help nor harm us either way so we went back to reading our ipads before bedtime. It helps him relax and me fall asleep.

    My husband and I do have a rule about not surfing or play games on our cellphones when we eat out though.

  16. says

    Great post, and something for me to strive for. I have noticed that bedtime does loose its intimacy if I bring my kindle or ipod into bed with me.

  17. says

    I absolutely love this premise!

    When I build my own home, I want my bedroom to just be such a zen space. All that should be experienced is sleep, romance, and positivity. I intend for the threshold to be a barrier for negative energy.

  18. Christopher says

    To me, this article is more about the use of tech in the bedroom, rather than having it there.

    If one partner doesn’t want to communicate with the other, you don’t need tech in the bedroom to stop it. People have been using books, newspapers, headaches, etc to stop it for years.

    If tech in your bedroom is getting in the way of you enjoying your life, get rid of it. If it isn’t keep it.

  19. says

    You are speaking my language! I completely agree that electronic devises have no place in the bedroom – they disrupt our circadian rhythm and can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia.

  20. Tara says

    Great piece – I do not watch TV, touch the phone or internet in the morning until I get to the office. Mornings are quiet family time in bed having breakfast.

    My partner is a TV addict but I do not allow him to turn it on before I leave for work. He watches it for hours in the evening in the living room, and I escape by reading books upstairs in the bedroom. Sometimes I wish we had more together time, but I am not willing to watch 4-5 hours of TV a night to be with him. At least when we are specifically doing something together, he does not play with his phone. I never touch my phone unless it’s to make a call or respond to an urgent text (which is very rare). I really do believe technology separates us from living real life – during vacations I do not touch the internet at all.

  21. Theresa says

    My husband & I have never had a TV in our bedroom, but he had people at work tell him we should get one when we expecting our 4th or 5th child. We now have 6 children (only 3 left at home now) & we enjoy more frequent intimacy than the averages we read about.

  22. Morghan says

    My phone is my alarm clock, but from 4.1 on Android includes a blocking mode to kill all lights and sound leaving it as just a lump of plastic on my nightstand until it comes on at 0445 and starts ringing at 0505.

  23. says

    I use my NOOK all the time for reading. (Even this site) I must admit I wish my DH could love with out his tablet. But we never watch TV and all of our technology is turned off at night.

  24. says

    These are great reasons to keep technology out of the bedroom. While I read my ipad in bed sometimes, I charge it outside our bedroom during the night. I’m glad my husband & I have always protected our bedroom as sanctuary. The long-term effects of exposure to all this electrical stimulation is still unknown and to many considered a form of toxin exposure. Thanks for sharing these other benefits!

  25. Marco says

    Technology-free? Almost. I’ve removed my second TV from my bedroom (and the appartment) years ago. However I do keep my Kindle on my nightstand, as it has replaced paper books for me. And although I do use my cellphone as an alarm, I keep it in another room – which gently forces me to actually get up and move towards the bathroom (and my pull-up bar) when the alarm goes down in the morning.

  26. Queen Mary says

    So Joshua, here’s what I know. My husband and I are too old to think “technology” in the bedroom is normal. But just about every single friend I have, uses the TV to fall asleep. One friend uses a radio. It’s just what they do. And I do use my phone as an alarm clock — the old one died, didn’t seem worth getting a new one. My husband does crossword puzzles on his iPad in bed. It doesn’t inhibit any of the things you suggest in your email. Maybe you’re writing for a different generation — all things with moderation. We’ve always believed in living simply so others may simply live.

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  28. Jerri says

    Thanks you for the thought provoking article. Last night I noticed that I had the television on, the radio on, and I was playing a game on my laptop. And I wonder why I have trouble sleeping and often feel exhausted the next day. Tonight, I will try to go without electronics….wish me luck.

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  30. says

    I agree, I’ve been trying to influence my spose to keep her laptop out of our bedroom. She gives me different excuses, but I know we could be more to each other if we did what you are saying.
    Thanks

  31. says

    Recently I have removed the mobile phone (which I used it for my daily alarm) from the bedroom and replaced it with an alarm clock instead. I find it so refreshing and free-ing in many ways. Previously when the mobile alarm went off, I would automatically check the messages and one thing led to another. Now I will take time to savor every moment. I definitely sleep better and wake up feeling more energized! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Deborah says

    Living in a tiny house does not always give someone a separate area for sleep yet the concept is interesting.

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