Column: Better sleep with this good intention

Good intentionColumn Good intentions usually concern our health, but you can also change your smartphone usage. This is my good intention for 2019.

Column: Good intention 2019

Smartphones are inextricably linked to making good intentions. Do you want to lose weight? Then you keep the calories in an app. Do you want to exercise more? Then apps record exactly how many steps you have taken. Even for quitting smoking or drinking less alcohol, apps are available in the Play Store.

These applications are super useful, but can also be a pitfall. Installing it already feels like such a good first step, that you might just as well start next week. A good start is half the work, right? Until you find out in a month that the app is still unopened on the third screen of your home screen.

Use less smartphone?

The fact that we need our smartphone more and more often for keeping track of good intentions is in stark contrast to the realization that we can also become addicted to these devices.

In the past year, we were made clearer about how much time we actually spend on our small screens. We can see exactly how many hours we watch cat videos on YouTube, or how often we get our device out of our pocket to see if there is some fun on Twitter.


In 2019 I will not use my device less. Nobody is waiting for another article about someone who has not used his smartphone for a week or a month. However, my intention has a little to do with it, because my goal is not to take my smartphone to bed anymore.

Out of habit, my smartphone was the last thing I saw on many nights before closing my eyes. And then I found it strange that I could not easily fall asleep.

Give your head a rest

According to figures from Statistics Netherlands in 2018, 20 percent of Dutch people had problems sleeping. Think of difficulty falling asleep or waking up too early. The amount of people with insomnia is actually increasing. There are all kinds of factors involved, but the smartphone is undoubtedly one of them.

Then I do not only have a blue light that our brain calls to wake up. That problem is already solved by making screens through settings or apps more and more red in the course of the evening. The other problem is that until the last moment of the day we are busy with updates about everything. You let your brain crave new information until the last moment, without taking a moment to process it. Then it makes sense if you do not fall asleep easily afterward.

I have been secretly working on this good intention for a few months now. A tattoo on my arm had to heal and smartphones are surprisingly dirty, so I did not want to take a risk by taking the bed. I liked that so much, that I still do not do it now. Before I go to sleep I put my phone completely still next to my bed, after which I do something else to relax like meditating or reading a book. I will go to sleep without picking up that phone afterward.

The next step is not to grab that device in the morning and to update everything, because I want to stay there for too long. Sometimes I have listened to a full podcast before I roll out of bed. In 2020, of course, I also have to improve a bit. A good start is half the work, right?

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