I’ve been struggling with waking up in the middle of the night. The disruption in sleep is usually caused by my bladder needing to relieve itself; my beloved herbal infusions are a diuretic. Instead of waiting it out until I fall back asleep, I compulsively check my phone. Sometimes this innocent “check” leads to an hour long binge of IG nonsense followed by youtube low back relief videos, of which I never actually do. If I’m really in a rabbit hole, I’ll spend another hour doing herbalism recipe research.
I lose precious sleep and I’m frustrated with myself in the morning. My cortisol spikes as I start my morning aggravated and in a state of lack. A lack of sleep and a lack of respect for myself for not being to control my impulse. Sometimes I can shake it off, but sometimes I can’t and it sets the tone for my entire day.
I’ve tried airplane mode, do not disturb, and set time limits but none of them work. I impulsively reach for the phone, disarm my time limit, and start scrolling.
Around 9:30PM last night, an hour before I went to bed, I decided to try something different. I turned my phone OFF, like shut it down, and put it away in my drawer.
The relief I felt when my phone was dark + lifeless was telling. I became giddy and actually laughed out loud. I felt a sense of freedom, almost naughtiness. I was in unknown territory. I was off the grid.
This pleasure is a sure sign of the severity of my problem and a major realization that is something I need to do way more often.
I spent the next hour breathing more easily and deeply. It felt spacious and new. I lit an incense and relaxed in bed, no need to check-in or check-on anyone or anything. The energy I so often feel with my phone, with technology, with social media, is that of grasping. The grasp was gone. I was able to just be. Just be me, fully.
I did a 10 minute meditation, then picked up my fiction book and dozed off at some point.
At some point in the night, the bladder called, and sure enough I arose from slumber. The temptation of my phone came. The grasping, needing energy was present. But, the thought of having to open my drawer and power my phone on made me think about the choice more consciously. There was more effort required, it wasn’t as impulsive. In that space, I was able to ask myself, is this something I really want to do? Is looking at my phone in the middle of the night going to benefit me? The answer was 100% NO.
What did I learn? Become the gatekeeper to your self-sabotage. Protect yourself from the things you know are harming you; the easy way out, the impulses, the fast pleasure, the addiction. Be honest with yourself.
Then set up measures to make it more difficult for you to succumb to that impulse, that addiction. Power down and put the phone/computer in the other room, in a safe if you need to, cancel Netflix, don't buy the ice cream or the booze. Whatever it is, give it some thought. How can you outsmart yourself when you are in that addictive, needing, grasping state?
Above all, breathe through the discomfort. It will pass. The more you do the right thing for yourself, the easier it will become.
Sending you love, light and ease in self-discipline <3