Technology in bed

our feet

After another rather restless night of waking up several times to find my spouse in bed next to me with his iPhone on, I’m starting to think that I need (or we need) a moratorium on web-enabled devices in bed.  Am I being too much of a Luddite?  I suspect that if email or twitter is always within arm’s reach, it’s just too hard to get a good night’s sleep.  Is there some tipping point where we become so ‘connected’ to the outside world through web-based media that it then becomes hard for our brain to tune out and rest–and let the world keep spinning without us for awhile?



Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is

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20 Responses

  1. Patty says:

    HIDE IT!!!! 🙂

  2. Sarah in Georgia says:

    I recently heard these web-enabled devices referred to as this generation’s smoking, and it has really made me notice my phone-time/surfing habits, although it hasn’t really made me change anything yet.

  3. mb says:

    Question 1. No, not too much of a Luddite.
    Question 2 Yes. Sounds like he may have found it.

  4. John Remy says:

    mb: my thoughts, too. Now that I know this is a concern, I can leave the phone on my desk.

    Though I think that as reading goes digital (I read as much on my iPhone Kindle app as I do physical texts), do we also find we need to limit our in-bed reading?

  5. CatherineWO says:

    There are some very good health reasons to not use electronic devices in bed. For more information you can go to the World Health Organization website ( and enter electrical magnetic field (or emf) in the search box.

  6. mb says:

    I don’t think the technology is the issue. The question is not “which items are okay and which are not”. It’s rather, how is this activity/distraction/concern/device/form of media (whatever it is) affecting my sleep, the repose of a person I love deeply, and my ability to be fully present and thoughtful.

    At least, those are the questions that I use to determine when I’m approaching the tipping point.

  7. mValiant says:

    What a great question. I agree with mb that for me the decision and later discussion with spouse would have more to do with outcomes than the goodness/badness of the technology use. Like, is our [home, relationship, self, family, life] more [peaceful, happy, meaningful, serene, authenticm whatever you care most about] when we have unplugged hours or days?
    The answer for me/us has been yes but I have such a hard time kicking my plugged in habits. Thanks for reminding me of my goals!

  8. mValiant says:

    BTW “technology in bed” with one fishnet stocking-clad foot made me think this post was going to be about something else entirely…! 🙂

  9. Jana says:

    mValiant: It was the only appropriate bed pic I could find that wasn’t just a cat in our bed 🙂 But, yah, I wondered if some people might’ve been expecting an entirely different kind of topic. 🙂

    All: thanks for your thoughts! I love being ‘plugged in’ to the world but sometimes wonder at what expense. I need moments to step back and weigh the costs.

  10. John Remy says:

    mb, good point. Communication is key. I started reading books on the iphone, for example, because I thought that having the light on was disruptive to Jana’s sleep. This is a recalibration for me.

  11. G says:

    very interesting topic and questions jana.

    Over-use of tech in bed hasn’t been too much of an issue for DH an I (wink wink mValiant)…

    But the overall issue of having a spouse who’s BRAIN wont shut down when it’s supposed to be bedtime, that has been a challeng~ I think that perhaps my spouse has had to deal with a similar issue, not due to a iPhone, but merely because the woman he is lying next to frequently gets up throughout the night. To write something down, look something up, send an email (etc)… (it’s not always web-based media for me. Often it’s my journal or sketchbook, or book I’m reading)

    (Last night I finally just got a marker that I could use to write notes on my arm, hoping I would be able to read them in the morning, having written them in the dark so as to not disturb the man sleeping next to me. They were semi legible this morning.)

  12. John Remy says:

    G: I did some dream work with my therapist for a while, which included writing down my dreams on 3×5 notecards in the darkness, with sometimes hilarious (and often illegible) results in the morning.

  13. Naismith says:

    I love the iPhone kindle reader and haven’t read a paper book in many months. I also read all my scriptures, general conference, and lesson manuals on the iPhone. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I listen to something on the ipod function–an audiobook or general conference–to put me back to sleep.

    So yes, it’s on the nightstand every night. Not for facebook or twitter.

  14. velska says:

    I think you’re right about having your bed non-connected to the Internet. You have enough complexity in your bed with having both of your parents and their relationship issues with you (to paraphrase Dr. Freud, and relate my own experience).

    Good idea — although I must say I wasn’t sure what’s coming up when the title says “Technology in Bed”. 😉

  15. EBrowv says:

    We’ve never had television in our bedroom. The. Bedside lamp to read by has been banished to accomodate my partner. My laptop was banished for the same reason. I’ve drawn a line in the sand about the iPhone particularly since in bed I use it to listen to books on tape or music. Some surfing and tweeting has to be expected: it’s the 21st c. after all Of course there’s always separate bedrooms, which are so civilized…

  16. John White says:

    Ha! Next post is a call for stories on passive-aggressive behavior in marriage! 🙂

  17. EBrown says:

    Ithink people have different sleep patterns. I have no problem going to sleep; it’ stayin asleep that’s hard. Whereas, my SO Is the opposite. Somehow we managed these shoals of adversity. 🙂

  18. velska says:

    I’m one of those, whose brain has a hard time shutting down. I’m in bed right now, with a laptop, and have been since Saturday — I’m sick so I’m not supposed to get up… Generally, I see no reason why gadgets should be disallowed — there are some fun ones designed to be used in bed, too. We tend to like those. 😉

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