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Why I Stopped Using My Phone As My Alarm Clock – How Unplugging Helped Me Sleep Easier!

I was super excited when I started using my smartphone as an alarm clock two years ago.

It was so convenient to check my email and social media messages one last time before I fell asleep. I was thrilled to be able to set the alarm tone to wake up to my favorite kind of music. 

Then, I’d set it to sleep a few times so I could lie in bed for several more minutes scrolling through the day's news and discover what my friends and the world had been doing while I was asleep.

Life seemed perfect till the whole thing fell apart. Not dramatically or on one fine day, but insidiously and gradually, so subtly, I didn’t know how much or what damage had been done. All I knew was that something was wrong. 

The Apple iPhone debuted in 2007, and smartphone technology has advanced dramatically since then. Statistics show that in 2023,  96% of the digital population used their mobile devices to log into the Internet. This population spent nearly 60% of their time browsing the web, chatting, communicating, shopping, listening to music, banking activities, and more. The industry has quickly flagged this trend, and companies have recognized that they need to provide mobile-capable and mobile-friendly access to their products and services. 

Smartphones, wearables, and other intelligent devices have revolutionized how we communicate, transact business, behave, and feel. They have made life more convenient, speeded up processes, and enabled communication across rugged terrains all day and night. 

Smartphone Use: The Flip Side

This is where I take up my story again – I discovered that I was a smartphone addict and those wake-up alarms had harmed me more than I knew. I always found myself on edge, kept dozing off during odd hours, and was snappy and irritable. 

While smartphone tech is excellent news regarding economics and business, what is it doing to the essential human being?

Lately, we have heard about an increasing number of cases of smartphone addiction. We are quick to deny that we’re in any way addicted to our phones, but they are the first thing we grab and look at when we wake up and the last thing we view at night. During the day, we scroll endlessly for news updates, shopping, or social media messages. We can’t be away from our phones even for a minute. In short, we are hooked. 

But is it such a bad thing? While this behavior is still being studied in the early stages, important research findings by experts in the field have been made. 

Smartphone addiction:

  • Allows you to neglect real people in favor of virtual ones
  • Causes restlessness and anxiety when you’re unable to use the device
  • Causes you to lose track of time
  • Results in anxiety and irritability when separated from the phone
  • Physical symptoms include heart palpitations, sweating, shivering
  • Emotional issues such as sleep disturbances, feelings of depression, insecurity, inadequacy
  • Paradoxically, though you’re virtually connected to hundreds of people, you feel isolated and disconnected from reality
  • Causes relationship issues 
  • Lower performance at work and school

Smartphones and Sleep

Young people today are digital natives, which means that they were born into digital technology. They have grown up surrounded by various digital devices and have no personal memory of older technologies. This also means they will have to undergo a lifetime of exposure to these devices' barely understood harmful effects. 

It is well-known that mobile phones emit radiofrequency energy readily absorbed by living tissue that is near it. Though studies have not been able to prove the connection between cancer and cell phone use, there are other equally hazardous effects. These include changes in brain activity patterns, sleep disturbances, and reduced reaction times. Mobile phones are held too close to pacemakers, and certain hearing aids or defibrillators can interfere with their functioning. Reduced attention span is becoming more common; with it, safety risks such as traffic accidents and slip and fall injuries abound. 

Children are more vulnerable, and we don’t have sufficient data to understand the ill-effects of continuous exposure to electromagnetic radiation fully. 

Benefits of Using a Traditional Alarm Clock

To continue my story, I found that the solution had been staring me in the face all along. All I had to do was unplug myself from my phone and get a plain, simple alarm clock. To my relief, I found that they’re still available! And they look better than ever, with brand-new features and some tech at their heart. 

The benefits are worth listing:

  • Analog alarm clocks are easy to read. Digital clocks and phones are sometimes set to the 24-hour clock, and it takes most of us a while to tell the exact time when confronted with the information on them. 
  • The numbers are visible on analog clocks; some come with little lights for better visibility. It is much easier to estimate elapsed time and future time on an analog clock without having to do complicated math in your head. How the needles are positioned gives you quick and easy information to tell how much time you have to leave the house to catch your train or bus. 
  • While the analog display may not give you precision in microseconds, it gives you a fair estimate, and that’s generally what you require every day. 
  • Personally, the most significant benefit was that I freed myself from smartphone addiction, at least partially! I no longer grab my phone when I hear the wake-up alarm and set it to sleep while I scroll through social media and news feeds and catch up on my email. 
  • When we reach for the phone first thing in the morning, we set ourselves up for emotional stimulation. News feeds about disasters and war, nasty comments on social media, ugly trolling, stress about work that you must complete during the day, and pressure from your boss in the form of an “I Needed That Yesterday!” email are no way to start a day calmly. 
  • Depending on phone alarms means you are constantly disturbed by notifications unless you remember to turn this feature off every time. 
  • Better quality sleep is one of the most significant benefits of smartphone detoxing. The blue light that phone screens emit harms the eyes and can interfere with deep sleep. 
  • Invest in the best analog alarm clock, and you don’t have to worry about running out of charge like your phone. When this happens, you may not wake up on time, and it’s easy to imagine how the rest of your day will go. 
  • On a more spiritual level, analog clocks help us understand the cyclical nature of time in a more profound sense. The hands moving on the clock face allow you to contemplate how time moves yet comes round again. These clocks ensure that children get a firm grounding in mathematical concepts and develop an understanding of chronology and math.
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