Screens in the Bedroom: Good, Bad, Indifferent, or the End of Humanity as We Know It?


silver macbook on bed
Photo by Andrew Neel on

Let’s talk about your bedroom for a minute. Do you use phones or other screens in yours? If you do, does using technology in your bedroom affect your sleep? Your focus? Do you know for sure?

I have a Kindle, but I leave my phone in another room. I know if I have a screen nearby, and I’m trying to sleep, I’ll end up thinking about work. For me, the mere presence of a screen puts in me in work mode.

Recently, I read some research about what happens when kids/tweens have screens in their rooms. It turns out that using screens in the bedroom is far worse (in terms of cognitive effects) than using screens elsewhere. So I wrote an article about that research for Your Teen Magazine, a leading source of trusted advice for parents raising tweens and teens.

There’s no paywall, and you can read it here if you like.

Let me know what your household practices are for digital devices. In a world of digital distraction, we’re all trying to find ways to balance the addictive pull of technology and the need for silence. What’s your last refuge for silence?

Morning Reading

White Hot Mug on Book Near Linen

I’ve been trying to establish the habit of reading (for fun) for 10 or 15 minutes in the morning before I go to campus or start work. It’s been two weeks since I decided to begin Project Morning Reading.

Status update: zero days of success.

Reading for a few minutes every morning isn’t a new activity for me. I did it religiously as a kid–for as far back as I can remember. My favorite time at school was the silent reading portion of the day, so I decided to implement my own silent reading before school. It was heavenly. Later, when I was teaching class at 7 am–a schedule I got stuck with many times in grad school–I would arrive on campus 10 minutes early and hide out somewhere where nobody could find me. Reading for fun was sort of like meditation for me. It centered me and made me feel calm enough to walk into a classroom with the energy and focus I needed.

Somewhere along the way I lost the ability (but not the desire) to read for just a few minutes before starting the day. I realized why: Because now I use 10 extra minutes to check email, answer text messages, read headlines, watch Instagram stories, etc. Technology has ruined me!

Even if I do manage to turn off my phone and focus, I find that my brain is racing all the time. It’s like my focus muscle is broken. And that’s all the more reason to read at the beginning of the day. It’s all part of slowing down and preparing my brain for work that extends beyond Instagram.

So I’m committed to starting morning reading again. I’ll just start tomorrow…