“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.