One unexpected blessing about arriving in the Osa peninsula is that I do not get wifi from the adorable shipping container that I will call home for the next two months.
“Does this mean I’ll have to indulge my illicitly procured Game of Thrones habit in full view of others?” I thought immediately.
Yes, it does.
In Chicago, my laptop isn’t allowed in bed. It stays at my desk across the room, closed, shut down, and unplugged. This wasn’t always the case though. I used to snuggle in every night with it, spend three hours cruising for a movie to watch on Netflix and refresh my Pinterest feed until I got too tired to keep my eyes open. I fell back into this habit in Puerto Viejo, when I didn’t have a desk except for outside my cabin, where I’d get eaten alive by bugs come dusk.
Here, though, my laptop doesn’t even stay in my room. I do my computer work in a common area, and have gotten so much reading and sun time in because of it.
And we’ve all had that moment: in bed with a hot piece of person next to you, likely minimally clothed. As you scroll through your Instagram feed on your phone and doubletap a friend-of-a-friend’s picture of last night’s oatmeal stout, you hear a hiss of disappointment from your side as your significant other/lover/cuddle buddy loses a game of Words with Friends. Then comes the realization: you could be getting some action right now, and instead you’re refreshing your Facebook feed for the fifth time in as many minutes. We spend all day on our phones, in front of computers and TV’s. The trouble is, our internal rhythms don’t do too well with this. Even watching TV or being on your computer when you’re eating interferes with your digestion–can you imagine what using your devices does to your sleep?
Try this: no more electronics in bed.*
Your bed is for sleeping and getting down.
So when you only do those things when you crawl into bed, your subconscious begins to associate your bed by getting sleepy (or sexy)–almost in a Pavlovian way–and who doesn’t want that? When you bring your phone/tablet/laptop into bed with you, you’re sabotaging yourself. Mentally, your Pinterest is keeping you stimulated when you should be winding down. Physically, the light from your device hits your retina, signaling to your body that it’s daytime when it’s actually time for sleep–the light actually messes with your circadian rhythms, or your sleep-wake cycles.
Ditch your TV
This is a huge step for some people. I never really had a TV in my room at any point, so this was never an issue for me, but I know some people who just cannot sleep without background noise. If this is your biggest hurdle, try turning it off at least an hour before you hit the sack. If you need the noise, rock some ambient binaural beats for a while. Take a shower, wind down, then read a book until you get sleepy.
Stash all your devices out of reach, or even outside your bedroom.
Before bed, power off your computer and your phone. If you use your phone as an alarm, consider getting an actual alarm clock. I went through a phase where I’d wake up in the middle of the night, reach for my phone and begin checking my email before I was even fully conscious. Because really, there is nothing urgent that is happening at 3am that cannot wait another few hours. Now, I set my phone across the room, which forces me to physically get up to shut the damn thing off. Surprise benefit: I don’t wake up in the middle of the night as often.
Invest in your Bedding
If you make your bed as comfortable as possible, it’s hard not to get cozy. Start out with a good mattress and box spring or bedframe, then add really soft, high-quality sheets, pillows and duvet. Climbing into bed should make you feel good, secure and snuggled in. You’re supposed to spend a third of your life in bed, so make it a glorious 33%. Think about keeping the walls surrounding your bed clean or very simple–long gone are the days where cluttered band posters are a good functional design choice.
What are some of your favorite ways to make your sleeping situation as comfortable as can be?
*Your high tech luxury vibe and its ilk can stay, however.