4 ways to stop sleeping with your phone

Let's get real: You do it, your neighbor does it and we do it, too. But before getting cozy under the covers with your smartphone, consider one of these ways to go to bed solo and proud.

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If you're spending each night sleeping with your phone, stop.

But why?, you ask. You two aren't hurting anyone, you say. And that's where you're wrong. For starters, your screen gives off blue light that can keep your brain awake and affect the quality of your sleep. Tablets and computers give off that light too, but you're more likely to take your small phone to bed nightly than those gadgets.

Even if you use Night Shift on the iPhone, which tints the screen orange (and by the way, it's coming to Android phones, too, with Android Nougat) there's the concern of cell phone radiation. There is no definitive answer to the question of whether or not the radiation all cell phones and smartphones emit can or will give you cancer or any other ailment. However, some research suggests that cell phone radiation can interfere with your sleep, which makes the argument for keeping your phone farther away from you while you sleep more compelling.

Finally, there are physical and psychological considerations to keep in mind. Without giving your typing and swiping fingers time to rest, you increase your chances of tiring our your tender fingers at the least, and giving yourself a nasty repetitive stress injury at the most. And unless you're skimming the dictionary at night, keeping an eye on social and news feeds keeps your brain awake, not sleepy.


Night shift tints your screen from blue to a mellower orange that calms your harried eyes at night.

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The truth is that keeping our phones on our nightstands or under our pillow is more about habit and comfort than absolute need. If you think you must have your phone within arm's reach at all times, we can try to help you break that habit. Here are the most common reasons you'd want to keep your phone close, and a solution that means you don't have to.

1. Your phone is your alarm

Alarm clock, who? Like many, we haven't used an alarm clock on our bedside table for years, but that doesn't mean you have to rely on that jangly little trill banging on your eardrums to jerk you out of slumber. There's a better way.

Simply move your phone further away. The distance means you're less likely to use your phone right before bed, and helps cut down on your exposure to radiation. Plus, you'll be forced to hop out of bed to shut off your alarm, and that means you won't just keep tapping snooze for another hour.

2. You want to hear important calls and texts

But what if there's an emergency? We hear this all the time. Heck, we think it all the time. However, you can keep your phone at a healthy distance and still receive important alerts.

Your phone's "Do Not Disturb" mode is the perfect solution. Available on iOS and most Androids, this feature turns off all notifications and alerts from emails, texts and incoming calls, except from a few important contacts that you program. It's also crazy-easy to set up.


The Do Not Disturb features on iOS and Android.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

On iOS devices, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb. You can either turn it on manually, or schedule off and on times for each day. You can allow calls from everyone, certain contacts or no one at all.

For most Android devices, go to Settings and look for Blocking Mode or Do Not Disturb. Most phones will let you control what kinds of notifications you get and from who. For devices running Android 5.0 and higher, simply press the volume rocker and turn on Priority mode or turn off all notifications.

Make sure to turn up your ringer on your phone so that the calls and messages that do get through Do Not Disturb mode are loud enough to wake you up if necessary.

3. Music lulls you to sleep

Whether you're listening to an audiobook, music or ambient noise when you nod off, the easiest option is to plug in your headphones and rest your phone nearby. However, with the help of some Bluetooth headphones, you can move your phone farther away or even to an adjacent room and still get your tunes. Most phones and accessories that use Bluetooth have a range of 10 meters (33 feet), so keep that distance in mind when finding a spot for your phone.

There 's a heap of Bluetooth headphones to choose from, and even ones that are designed for sleep, such as the soft SleepPhones. Of course, it's much cheaper to just use a pair of low-cost wired headphones to listen to music -- and then pull them out when you're ready to knock out. However, if you're concerned about radiation or the effects of your phone's screen on your sleep quality, it's worth picking up a wireless option.

4. Just one...more...email...zzz


We love ebooks, just not for bed time. Try a paperback instead.

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Is this you? You're playing one last game or answering one last email and unintentionally fall asleep? No. Bad. It's time to set boundaries. Staying up late to play games, hang around Facebook or answer emails from your boss isn't good for your sleep health or stress levels.

The best solution is also the most obvious. Pick a designated spot for your cell phone that's away from your bed, and surround it with things you need, like a charger and stand. That's its home now.

Next, set up a daily routine for your phone. You can either plug it in as soon as you get home or set a phone bedtime, where you plug in your phone at certain time each night and don't touch it again until morning. The more you do this, the more natural it will feel to not have your phone close to you at all times, demanding your attention. And maybe instead of staying up playing Candy Crush or Clash Royale, you'll pick up a book to ease into slumber, or just tuck yourself in without any distractions at all.

This story originally published on December 16, 2014 and was most recently updated on July 6, 2016.