Give Yourself a Technology Curfew: Kickstart a Healthier, Happier Nighttime Routine

It was midnight. My husband (the night owl between the two of us) heard my feet on our stairs and, before I even came into his sight, said—

“Can’t sleep, huh?”

“Nope,” I replied in frustration, heading (of course) for the cereal cabinet.

This exchange had become way too common over the last year, and although I knew several factors could be at play, I had my eye on one particular habit that was likely affecting my sleep.

Before-bed screen use.  

But dangit, I didn’t want to give it up! It’s more convenient to read using my Kindle app… It’s so delicious to watch a show in bed… It’s really, really hard to resist that final check-in on Instagram.

But as I’m sure you know, the research on screen time before bed is not good. Blue light suppresses the body’s melatonin production and pushes back our circadian rhythms. Where blue light can be useful in shifting our cycles toward more wakefulness when we need it (like first thing in the morning), it has a negative effect when we want to go to sleep.

Blue light has a dark side – Harvard Health Publishing
Why is blue light before bedtime bad for sleep? Scientific American

But I didn’t really even need the research to tell me that; I could feel that my technology was often given my mind a second wind—right when I wanted it least. When I wanted rest… my mind suddenly wanted to replay every exchange with every human I’d ever met! Great timing, right?

There are other downsides too, like how easy it is to slide into a late night scrolling spiral on social media, which does nothing good for my mind or heart.

But like any normal human, I resisted the idea of shutting my electronics down early.

Or at least… I resisted for as long as I could. 😉

Slowly, I’m coming around to the benefits, and I’m finally ready to give myself a digital curfew. And call me crazy, but I think you should too!

Here’s the deal

You commit to turning off all your electronics at 9pm for 7 days, and for those 7 days, I’ll send you a nightly email with an invitation to officially shut everything down.

Each email will share a benefit of turning off your technology early, and we’ll explore not just the effect of media on our sleep but also on ourselves as people. I hope you’ll finish the challenge more determined than ever to use your technology mindfully.

We’ll also have a private, members-only Facebook group where we share our tips and cheer each other on. I’ll do a live video at the beginning of the week and again at the end asking y’all how it went!

The challenge will cost $7 and start Sunday, March 4th (so be sure to register before then!).

Does that sound like a plan? Join me over at The Technology Curfew Challenge for more info!

Sweet dreams!

PS. A note on the $7 cost: Thank you SO much for your support! I couldn’t keep this site running without it, and I appreciate every dollar I earn that helps me invest in my business and contribute to my family.

PPS. In preparation, you might want to buy yourself a good ol’ fashioned alarm clock.

*Some* people may have the willpower turn off their phone’s wifi or switch into nighttime mode and still use it as an alarm clock… I am not one of those people. 😉 I need that phone to be out of my reach!

The six clocks below are some of the best-reviewed (not to mention cutest) clocks on Amazon; feel free to check them out!

1. JieCai Beauty bedside lamp and alarm clock $27
2. Luckymore wood alarm clock $24
3. hOmeLabs sunrise alarm clock $30
4. Coulax wood wake-up light and alarm clock $34
5. Geekers triangular wood alarm clock in black $26
6. Leigui 9-inch digital alarm clock $27


  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 4:31 am

    I have the sunrise alarm clock and I LOVE it. It’s such a subtle and gentle way to wake up. I set it for an hour before my kids wake up and then I go retrieve my electronics (which live on a mass charging station outside of the bedroom) and then I get an hour of work done before the kids get up. I would really love to exercise during this time but right now it’s just not happening in the mornings! My husband set up the charging station as a way to get the electronics all out of the bedroom at night. Although he’s usually the one needing the reminders!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      February 7, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      I love this, Denaye! Good for you guys for being so purposeful. I think a family docking station will become even more important as our kids get older, so I figure I might as well get started sooner than later! And I’m glad to know you like the sunrise alarm! I’ve got #3 in my cart at the moment!

  • Reply
    Anne McOmber
    February 11, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a more fitting time, Erica! With the convenience of literally everything on my phone it’s so easy to be sucked in, even with the intention not too. The other day, my toddler put her face in front of mine, pointed to the phone in my hand I was looking at (for I’m sure too long) and said to me, “All done.” Talk about an eye-opening moment. Painful but needed! I’ve been making an even bigger effort to give my phone less of my attention throughout the day ever since. 🙂 It’s been a really positive change on so many levels, but I love the idea of setting an actual “curfew” for before bed. I’m looking forward to the 7 day challenge. Count me in!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      February 11, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      What a sweet, eye-opening moment with your daughter—Thanks for sharing, Anne! My girl will say “Mom, look at me,” when I’m accidentally zoned out with my phone and she’s trying to show me her latest and greatest. It’s sad that we have to struggle with this so much, but awareness is always the first step, right?! (Fingers-crossed emoji) 😉 And thanks so much for your interest in the challenge!!

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