Falling asleep in front of the glowing computer screen tops my list of bad habits. It usually peaks with my anxiety. Whenever I am stressed, I find that distractions (like bingeing shows I’ve seen before) help calm my mind. In fact, I use them to fall asleep. But, that sleep is not a deep restful sleep. It’s a light, foggy sleep. I often wake up with the light of the screen flashing (even if I turn the volume low). Then, I have to turn off the screen and fall back into restlessness. Although I know falling asleep in front of the screen is a terrible habit, I fall into the pattern whenever I get stressed. Long days at work — turn on the screen at bedtime. Family drama flairs — curl up with the computer. Coronavirus disrupts my schedule — maximize those Netflix hours. It’s not the greatest solution for health and happiness. With COVID-19 disrupting my waking and sleeping hours, I decided to nip the problem in the bud. I made a plan to break that habit before it got out-of-control again. This time, I used my journal to help remind me of my plan.

1.Choose a waking and sleeping time

I had been inconsistent in my waking time. Then, my bedtime became longer. Soon, I was struggling to stay on a reasonable schedule. So, I scheduled a wake-up time for myself every day — no exceptions. Even if my son woke me up in the middle of the night, I decided to arise at the same time and just nap if needed.

It was harsh but, it did make me more tired for bedtime. I wrote a reminder for this in my journal on each day’s agenda.

2. Make a List of Substitutes

I know I struggle to fall asleep unless I calm my mind. So, I made a list of substitute activities to take the place of watching old TV shows. I picked up new books to read and downloaded audiobooks to my phone.

I put goals for completion into my journal. This reminded me to take a little time at the end of the day to focus on these other story formats.

3. Track the Results

As I made these changes, I kept notes about how quickly I was falling asleep. Soon, my sleep became more restful and consistent. Within a few weeks, I was back to a normal sleep schedule again.

The little habit-changing project took me about a month. It sounds silly but, I struggle to fall asleep without zoning out to the roll of endless episodes.

Are You Trying to cut down on Screen time?

If you’re trying to cut down on your screen time, especially at night, I’d like to hear about what you’re doing. Leave me a note in the comments or tell me about your plan on my Instagram @verderamade.