No, we're not talking about that 1991 classic starring Julia Roberts (although can we just all remember how bloody awesome that film is please) we're talking about the enemy to our sleep and yet we all cuddle up with it every night, unwilling to snooze without it despite the continued evidence of the negative implications it has on us.
That's right, we're talking about our phones.
According to Sleep.org 71% of people are falling asleep with their phone in their hand, in their bed or on their night stand.
One part to play in this has been that phones have made a common alarm clock replacement - ironically the thing that is waking us up is actually hampering our sleep. But worse, it's not even a nice alarm clock. That jarring iphone alarm sound gives me nightmares and when I hear it during the day it genuinely sets me on edge. Humans were only meant to be woken from sleep in shock when there was trouble, otherwise we're meant to rise alongside the sun.
How to defeat it: we highly recommend a "wake-up light". Something that wakes you by replicating the gradual light of sunrise as your alarm. I use this Philips model, which although might be a little pricey for an alarm clock (and to be fair any alarm clock would be good), is by far the best change we've made to our lifestyle. We no longer use our phones for our alarm and instead are woken by the soft glow of our light and the sound of bird song - yes...it does that too.
Our phones hold so much more than just the phone numbers of our loved ones (and foes), they hold emails that ping into the night, Facebook notifications, endless cat memes and somehow you're looking at your old school friends wife's Instagram and wondering why you don't make your own strawberry jam. Having our phones with us means we don't switch off from our social lives or from our work lives, it's no wonder we can't sleep when we're adamant we need to updating our Trello boards with tomorrows to-do list at 3am.
How to defeat it: a good old notebook should help. I always keep a pen and notepad on my bedside table, just incase I have a momentous business idea in the middle of the night and need to start making plans straight away.
Blue light, is it real?
Yes. Blue light isn't a myth and the reason it's such a pain in the ass is because it interrupts your body's production of Melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. You phone operates using blue light, so every time you look at it you're body doesn't produce the sleepy hormone and you feel wide awake (which you probably try to counteract by more phone-time).
How to defeat it: experts say that you should put your phone away for at least two hours before bedtime and they also extend that to any electronic devices. If that's going to be too torturous then you can buy blue light filters for devices and you can even have blue light filters added to your glasses!
Mindless and dull
The worst thing is that those 30/45 minutes in bed are precious. Whether it's rare time spent with your partner or rare time you get to yourself (which to be honest, the most preferable of those two, right?!); why do we continue to waste it on fruitless scrolling (scrolling that actually only makes us feel more anxious and stressed?!). There are so many other things that we could spend that time doing, that would not only help relax us but that could also help us to feel more human and less like another faceless statistic on a social media app.
How to beat it: challenge yourself to reading a certain number of books. Treat yourself to a magazine (we love the Planet Mindful magazine). Give yourself a facial. Learn to crochet. Start journalling. Whatever relaxes you that you wouldn't normally allow yourself time for, do that.
Sleep is precious and we waste so much time staring at our phones. It's time to boot the thing out of bed and reclaim the space as your own.
We'd love to know if you try any of the tips, you can tag us on Instagram (@womenwhodo_uk) and share your experience with us. Although...wait until the morning...of course!
Emma Downey, Founder & Editor
Emma can be found glued to her laptop/kindle or embarking on her next favourite hobby. Avid cake-eater, Disney superfan and passionate about female empowerment, Emma founded WWD in 2017. She's also a marketing consultant, Girlguide Leader and converting a Sprinter van (@Minnie_the_van on Instagram) into her office/home to take around Europe in 2020 with her partner, Rupert (who features heavily in most of her anecdotes).
If you'd like to contact Emma about being featured on our blog, or about other advertising opportunities WWD offers, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org