How NOT to be a screen vampire

March 31, 2021

What is that? You want me to join the Justice League? Why yes Batman, I wi ---- BRRRRRRRRT BRRRRRRRRT BRRRRRRRRT --
Uh.. I’m jolted awake. 

Uggggh, I always set my alarm too late, no time for a snooze or I’m going to be late, sorry Batman, we’ll have to pik this up again tonight. 

Coffee. I drag myself to work. More coffee. Meeting with Cheryl from accounting. Even more coffee. Ugh, too much coffee, bathroom. Coffee. Work on a project plan. Coffee?

Come 11 pm though, I’m completely awake, watching hilarious videos on YouTube. I’m not tired at all. 

Most people know they have a sleep problem, but they don’t know how to fix it. Sleep deprivation doesn’t just make you tired though. It makes you sick more often. And it makes you fat and out of shape.

Wait now,

Oh now you’re listening! I see how it is. 
Not getting enough sleep has been linked to countless health problems, including weight gain. [1 - references at bottom]  

It seems though that there are only a few people that prioritize sleep. Athletes and parents, and for parents it’s their children's sleep, not their own.

Why? Why is this happening to you and everyone you talk with?

Our phones.

Yep, it’s so simple.

No that can’t be it, too obvious, must be some combination of work stress, chemicals in the water, artificial sweeteners, or…. 

No. Occam’s Razor, the simplest answer is usually right. It’s your phone. 

No! Please don’t tell me the phone is keeping me up on late night Netflix benders.

Yes your phone is turning you into a screen vampire -- you're up all night, searching for more victims - I mean videos. Then you'd sleep all day in your coffin if you could, but instead you're just groggy all day. A screen vampire.

No! Not my preciousssss! Don’t takes it away from me

Ok, nice Lord of the Rings reference, Golem. But I’ll tell you why we’re going to take it away.

You may have already heard of this magical anti-sleeping power called blue light. 


Ok, I’ll explain quickly. Basically all our technology, our TVs, computers, and phones emit blue light. Same exact light as the sun, the huge ball of light in space, that sun. [2] 

You see our caveman bodies evolved just a little before the invention of technology, and back then there was only one source of bluelight - the sun. So when you’re watching Netflix and scrolling Insta at the same time our silly little eyes, brains, and bodies think that the sun is still up, even at 1 am. We’ve artificially lengthened the daylight to 18+ hours and then try to fall asleep seconds after walking in from noonday sun as far as our brains are concerned. 

No no no, please, not my phone. 

Oh it gets worse. 

Smart people at Harvard studied this. They conducted studies, and guess what, yep it’s the blue light. Same shit that’s coming right out of your computer or phone as you’re reading this right now. It’s the blue light that disrupts sleep patterns by double green light. [3] And yellow / red light, that doesn’t do anything to your sleep.

Want to know where we usually get red light from? Fire.[4] You see our caveman brains evolved to fall asleep next to a fire, but not the sun. 

Even just a few seconds on your phone to check your calendar for tomorrow right before bed can disrupt melatonin. 

Ok, ok, I’ll fix it with drugs.

Nope. Doesn’t work. 
You’ll knockout alright, but you’re not sleeping deep caveman-sleep. It’s a groggy, drugged stupor that doesn’t allow your brain the proper restorative benefits of sleep, says Dr Matthew Walker, from Berkeley. [5]

Occam’s Razor. It’s the screens. 

Once you’ve given in and accepted this, you’ve reached the first step in fixing your sleep problems.
From the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, step 1: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable"

Now repeat after me, I admit I am powerless over my phone - that my sleep has become unmanageable.

I admit I am powerless over my phone - that my sleep has become unmanageable.
How do I fix this? 

That’s the first step. Now, unlike alcohol, technology is not optional, unless you think becoming Amish is in the cards for you, so you’re going to have to make some changes while keeping the phone in your life. 

Here are some tips:


  1. Charge your phone in another room. Nowhere near your bed.
  2. Set an alarm to go off at your bedtime. Personally, my Alexa plays Sweet Caroline by Neal Diamond every night at 9:30 pm
  3. Read by candlelight or soft orange light before bed


I know you just want to buy your way out of this, so I’ll oblige you. Here’s what you should buy from Amazon. 

  1. JALL Sunrise Alarm Clock - amzn link - The JALL alarm clock doubles for a soft orange night light for reading before you go to bed.
    It wakes you up by slowly getting brighter until your desired wake up time, then plays birds tweeting when it’s actually time to wake up.
    And, the time display can be turned off for complete darkness while you sleep. You don’t need to know what time it is when you wake up to pee in the middle of the night!
  2. Candles - amzn link - any really, but try something like this 
  3. Kindle - amzn link - the Kindle can be read with no backlight. It’s an endless source of novels by your bed. 
  4. Blue light blocking glasses - amzn link - put them on early evening and keep them on till your screens are off 

If you charge your phone in another room and read a book by candle light you’ll be passing out in under half an hour for a nice fitful rest, I promise. Then with the JALL, you’ll wake to a simulated sunrise and birds.

It’s wonderful!

That’s all you have to do to not be a screen vampire. 

Ok, right now, go put your phone to charge in another room.
Light a candle by your bed.
Tomorrow you can buy everything I put on the list. 
For now, go take a warm shower,
and go to sleep.

You need it. 


  1. Sleep and weight gain
  2. Blue light sources
  3. Harvard Blue Light Study
  4. Fire is red light
  5. Matthew Walker on sleep drugs

Note: I'm an Amazon affiliate, if you click and buy one of the products I link to, you'll pay the same price, but Amazon will give me a small cut. I personally use these products and stand by them, so they're awesome. But you buying them just helps support my work a little.

Follow me on Twitter

I tweet about the future, life, business, and random things