Late-night screen time is a problem at our house. All three of us can be found on screens before bed: David on Board Game Geek or Blazer’s Edge, Quinland texting or doing homework online (or doing both simultaneously), and I… well, let’s just say I have fallen asleep clutching my phone one too many times with a half-read Jane Austen fan fiction story on the screen.
I’ve rationalized it away in the past: we’re all reading! That’s no different than reading books! It’s a great way to relax before bed! But my studies at the University of Google Medical School have shown that the light emitted by electronic devices can actually disrupt our body clocks and delay the production of melatonin, which helps people fall asleep. No wonder we are all feeling sleep-deprived!
As always, this inspired a new Family Scheme. My solution was simple: no electronics after 10 pm. But I decided to add an additional wrinkle as well: going electricity-free at 10, lights out, electronics off. Up until now, we haven’t been able to change through willpower; perhaps we will be able to change through countless evenings of boredom.
We’ve only done it one night, but it was a rousing success. Quinland built a fire in the fireplace, and we all sat around in the firelight reminiscing about our Europe trip, reminding each other of little details and comparing our favorite places. It was wonderful to have that time together, and rather than being upset about losing his phone for the night, Q was thrilled to get to build a fire, something we rarely do.
Q’s rehearsal for the play has gotten in the way since then – it’s their Hell Week right now – but I think the experiment has merit. We all relaxed, spent quality time together, and got to sleep at a decent hour. I’m so convinced, in fact, that I’ve stocked up on firewood for the week and talked with a neighbor about sharing in a cord of wood. Bring your marshmallows the next time you come over!