In the digital age, it can be difficult to switch off. Whether that be checking emails first thing in the morning or squeezing in an extra ten minutes of that new show just before bed. Screens are everywhere, so it’s important to be intentional about our device usage. Enter digital detoxing, the practice of taking a step back from screens.
Why Try A Digital Detox?
Improved Mental Health
According to a systematic review published in BMC Psychology, analysing results from over fifty articles, most found a negative correlation between screen exposure and the mental health of adolescents. Social media usage was even found to be linked to higher risk of depression in girls.
Now we’re not saying to ditch the socials, we love a good Instagram scroll as much as the next person, but being more mindful of our time spent in the digital world can offer real world benefits. What's more, research into the consequences of technology on brain health found frequent use to heighten ADHD symptoms, impact emotional and social intelligence, and increase feelings of social isolation.
You’re probably aware that screen usage late at night can impact our sleep, but it’s important to understand why. Exposure to blue light can delay the onset of melatonin production, the hormone that helps to regulate our sleep and wake cycle.
This is because blue light exposure, particularly in the evening, tricks the body into thinking it’s daytime, hence the inhibition of melatonin production. Studies have shown that the use of light-emitting devices, like e-readers, also increase alertness, which can cause further difficulty when trying to fall asleep. So, you may be better off reading a classic paperback before bed, rather than a Kindle. If you’re struggling with sleep, have a read of our blog on six steps for better sleep.
Improved Physical Health
It’s no secret that prolonged screen time increases the likelihood of time spent being sedentary. Plus, staring at screens for extended periods of time can lead to eye strain, headaches and poor posture. Scheduling in regular breaks when working at a screen should increase overall productivity and reduce the time spent mindlessly scrolling.
You Don’t Have To Unplug Completely
Feeling ready to take some time away from the screens? Here are a few techniques to help get you started.
- Put your phone in another room: This one is simple, yet highly effective. It’s easy to reach for a device when it's close to hand, however if we have to physically move to access the device, it means we’re more intentional about our usage.
- Set app time restrictions: If you’re struggling to regulate your usage, setting time restrictions on apps can be a great way to get started.
- Set your device to ‘do not disturb’: We all know how tempting it is to check a notification when we hear that ding. So, remove the temptation by setting your device to silent or do not disturb.