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Pillow Talk: Do Phones Belong in the Bedroom?

iPhones in the bedroom?

Dear Carley,

My significant other says I’m spending too much time using my phone in the bedroom. But I always do a last-minute email check before bed, and I want to catch up on the videos people have sent me all day. Also, when else can I find time for Words with Friends? Is a little phone time at bedtime really so bad?

—Not-So-Smooth Operator

Dear NSSO,

This is your relationship calling…it wants your attention back! Seriously, I’ve been guilty of the same (yes, midnight Candy Crush does happen). But especially during the month of love, I can see how your S.O. might feel miffed that you’re spending less time with him, and more time romancing the phone. At least with TV, both of you can catch up on NCIS together. But the phone is kind of a private affair. Still, it really can be hard to find another chance to watch an Upworthy video or to get in that killer Scrabble move. So what can you do? Here are my suggestions:

Try an app. Sounds counterintuitive, right? But an app that tracks exactly where you spend your online hours, like RescueTime, can clue you in on which sites are sucking your time by day…and help you focus so you’ll make more time at night.

Schedule nighttime off. If you and your S.O. know that bedtime is scheduled no-phone time, you’ll be much likelier to finish your other stuff beforehand. When we have a deadline, say, “phone off by 10PM,” chances are much better that we’ll stick to it. And about that nighttime email—when friends and coworkers see you stop responding at a certain hour, they’ll start to expect that from you, too.

Blackmail yourself. Aherk! lets you upload a compromising photo of yourself, set up a goal, and if you don’t meet it…that photo’s going on Facebook. Your S.O. can vote on whether you met the goal or not. Motivating, no?

Get a real alarm clock. Has this ever happened to you? You use your phone as an alarm, and after switching it off, it tempts you into playing Dots. Or going on Facebook. Or Pinterest. Or…you get the point. Phone-in-the-bedroom time counts in the morning, too.

Buy time. If you really can’t will yourself to get offline, you might try cash. Remember moms who made their kids put a coin in a jar if they said a bad word? Put a value on your “cheating”: if you go online when you promised you wouldn’t, pay up. And earmark the money for a romantic dinner. Just turn off your phone before you get to the restaurant, OK?

What do you think? Do phones belong in the bedroom? Let me know in the comments!

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