How to Turn Off Your Devices Before Bed

I’m the worst at this. I know that I need to go to bed at a reasonable time, but when the lights out comes, I’m already at my computer, on my tablet or smartphone, usually doing another circle on YouTube / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter. just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. And half an hour later, I’m still doing it.

Sometimes you need a little helping hand to tell you it’s time to go to bed. And since you’re going to ignore your loved ones and / or pets for just one more move in your favorite game, or another quick scan of the social network you just watched three minutes ago, here’s how to set up Helping your digital hand give you some harsh love, make you unplug and go to bed on time.

Windows: Shutter

Of course, you can set up something crazy in Windows Task Scheduler to automatically shutdown your computer at a set time every day. It’s a bit of a tricky process, but it’s doable even for Windows newbies. You can even create a desktop shortcut that automatically shuts down your system after a certain amount of time. You will have to activate it yourself, but this is a great way to kill.

However, I find the free den4b Shutter app to be just as effective and much easier to use. Install it and you will have two options for setting: trigger (for example, set time every day) and action (shutdown computer). If you’re feeling a little less nuclear, you can simply set your system to auto-lock at a set time – perhaps encouraging you to go to bed without necessarily killing what you were working on. You can even have the app prompt you with a small message such as “GO DAMN DAMN!”.

macOS: Parental Control

It’s easy to shut down your MacBook or fall asleep at a specific time every day, which can be a great way to encourage you to ditch your computer. You can even make a small shutdown shortcut to your desktop if you like the countdown, or create a scheduled automaton action to close all your open programs before bed.

However, if you tend to turn your MacBook back on, you’ll need to take a little more care with yourself. Consider activating macOS’s built-in parental controls for yourself, which you can access by clicking the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of your screen and choosing System Preferences> Parental Controls.

One quick caveat: parental controls only apply to non-admin accounts, so you’ll have to create a new account for yourself (and reconfigure it, and reinstall all your apps in it).

This definitely puts parental controls in the “sweeping” category, but if you jump over those hoops, you can use your admin account to set specific bedtime for your “actual” account. This will definitely prevent access to your computer during these periods of time. (Pro tip: ask a friend to change the password on your admin account, ask him to write it down somewhere, and promise to give it to you only in case of emergency / negotiated reconfiguration.)

Chrome / Firefox: StayFocusd and LeechBlock NG

StayFocusd is one of our favorite browser extensions for Chrome , an incredible tool that keeps you busy (like social media) at certain times. Turn on the “kernel option” of the extension, set it to work at the time you need to sleep, and you won’t be surfing in the early morning hours.

You can’t get StayFocusd for Firefox, but LeechBlock NG allows you to similarly restrict your browsing habits. Be mean; no social media before bed.

Android / iOS: moment and tasker

The best way not to play with your smartphone when you need to sleep is to simply not hold the device next to your bed. Place the charger on a table, or better yet, in another room. TA-dah! … unless you use your smartphone as your morning alarm , as many do, which means you still need to have it handy to wake you up.

Spend $ 4 on the premium version of Moment for iOS , and you can customize the app to pester you with notifications at scheduled times. While you can “use” your smartphone, it will be too tedious and burdensome for you to actually do anything, and then you can actually go to bed.

On Android, try Tasker . While you can’t use it to turn your smartphone on and off at set times – at least – you can at least schedule a time for when you want your device to switch to airplane mode (if rooted). Otherwise, you can simply ask Tasker to lower your smartphone’s display brightness to near zero when it’s bedtime and turn off Wi-Fi and mobile data to dissuade you from using your smartphone.

You can also get a little crazy and force Tasker to close all your apps at the set times , but this will require a little more tweaking (and some other additional apps).

Your router can help too

Most modern routers usually have some sort of options, usually buried deep in their settings screens , that allow you to schedule a wireless connection. In other words, you can turn Wi-Fi off from the router at a set time – for example, before bed – and turn it back on in the morning. While that won’t help you, if you just use up your smartphone’s data plan instead of going to bed, you can at least leave your Wi-Fi-only devices offline, which would ideally make them less likely to be used.

Some routers even come with more complex blocking systems, usually as part of their parental controls , that allow you to deny certain devices from accessing your Wi-Fi at scheduled times. Again, it won’t do you much good if the devices have a different way to connect to the network, but this is just the beginning.


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