At the end of the summer, months of near-constant doom-scrolling (both on my sofa, and before bed) meant my sleep was really suffering. While I would religiously go to bed early, that last-minute ritual of checking my email or “just popping on to Twitter” as America was waking up often left me still thumbing the screen at 1 or 2 a.m. with the Kindle on my bedside table gone unused for yet another night. Still, in early September, I was shocked when a notification casually revealed that I was spending almost eight hours a day looking at my phone.
I was frustrated. My argument for bringing my phone into the bedroom in the first place was two-fold. I have a wakeful baby and needed to be able to check the time in the dark to see if we were getting up or going back to sleep. Secondly, I needed an alarm just in case said baby decided to, finally, sleep like a baby (they master these skills when you least expect it). My phone did it all (and more, which is the problem). “Why don’t you just get yourself a little alarm clock?” my mother, a noted luddite and alarm purist, suggested.
A quick online search revealed that alarm clocks without the features, bells and whistles that I was actively trying to avoid haven’t changed much in the last 20 years. Most of them are ugly as hell, and inexplicably still have radios. But I eventually found exactly what I needed in the Balvi b:on LCD flip alarm clock. It’s deliciously retro in style, and small — about the size of a pound of butter but light as a feather. Being battery operated means I’m not in danger of having any Home Alone-style mishaps, as well as making it handy for travelling (when we’re allowed to travel again). Even the alarm tone — a lively bip! bip! bip! — is very pleasing to the ear.
But my absolute favourite feature of the Balvi b:on is the extremely satisfying button on top that allows me to illuminate the numbers for three seconds: this is just long enough for my brain to register the time, but not so long that it can’t switch straight off and go back to sleep again. Importantly, though the numbers light up, the clock is still not bright enough to attract the baby’s attention (another reason why my phone lived in my room for so long).
It’s now been about a month since I’ve welcomed the alarm clock into my bedroom, leaving my phone charging downstairs, and I’ve figured it’s giving me an extra two hours of sleep every night. I’m also nodding off easier, reading books again instead of mindlessly scrolling and according to the latest notification, I’ve halved my screen time overall.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.