6 Reasons Why You Need a Digital Detox

We’re so connected to our electronic devices today that it’s easy to get lost in the digital world behind our screens. According to Statista, Americans spend more than 11 hours per day using electronic media. And many people also have desk jobs, which require working on a computer for eight to nine hours at a time. Unplugging hardly seems like a realistic option. But a digital detox whenever time permits, like over the weekend or on a day off, is crucial. Here are six reasons why you need to take a day to unplug.

1. You’ll sleep better

man sleeping on office desk

Detoxing from your devices will help you sleep. | iStock.com

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a study found more than one third of adults in America don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can cause multiple health issues, including increased risk of mental distress and heart disease. If you’re answering emails on your phone before switching off the lights, though, it’s unlikely you’ll sleep well. The National Sleep Foundation explains light exposure and mental activity stimulate wakefulness. The more we use electronics before bed, the more awake our brains will be, which makes it harder to fall asleep. If you’re always using a device before bed, a digital detox could be what you need to get some rest.

2. Your eyes need a break

man rubbing his eyes while he works on a laptop

Your computer screen is ruining your eyes. | iStock.com

According to the American Optometric Association, prolonged device usage can lead to computer vision syndrome. Symptoms include dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and eyestrain. And since Pew Research Center reports 68% of Americans own a smartphone and 45% own a tablet, there’s a good chance even non-office employees are suffering. Whether you work at a computer all day or like to scroll through social media on a handheld device, a digital detox can really help your eyes.

3. It increases risk of obesity

Man walking

Your devices aren’t helping your waistline. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

When working on a computer or sitting in front of the TV, we lose the desire to get up unless it’s necessary. This means physical activity lessens. According to WebMD, there is definitely a link between obesity and a digital lifestyle. The story even suggested a pizza commercial may encourage you to eat more.

And it’s not just the tube that’s to blame. Medical Daily suggests technology has made our lives increasingly sedentary with its advancements and has also made us more used to multitasking. This includes eating on the go, preventing us from practicing mindful eating, which can cause weight gain. So put down the phone, and start moving.

4. Increased productivity

Person checking off checklist

Multitasking isn’t always best. | iStock.com

Our phones are almost always at our fingertips and the speed of the internet makes it so simple to browse that it’s common to get distracted by technology. Harvard Business Review mentions people who focus on several things at once are less productive than those who pay attention to just one thing at a time. By going on a digital detox, we’re giving ourselves the opportunity to refocus on what we’re actually supposed to be working on. By removing distractions like social media, we can accomplish a lot more.

5. It’ll help improve your posture

Man slouching over computer

Slouching over a computer is commonplace. | iStock.com

Spending too much time on our devices is just as bad for our posture as it is our productivity. According to The New York Times, phone use strains our necks five to six times more than normal. The article went on the mention some studies have shown there is also a link between posture and memory, finding young students who slouch aren’t as productive as those who sit up straight. The moral of the story? Stop texting and sit a little taller.

6. You’ll reconnect with friends and family

Group of friends making a toast

Your friends and family will thank you. | iStock.com

When we choose to see what’s going on in the digital world our cell phones provide rather than enjoying time with those around us, it takes away from what’s most important in life. Unplugging for a few days can be a life-changing detox, as mentioned by Fast Company. The article highlighted an experiment that studied the behavior of a group of 35 people. They spent one day together where they could use their electronics, then spent the next four days unplugged in the Moroccan desert. The researchers found unplugging resulted in better conversations, relationships, and bonding among the individuals. Being unplugged allows us to think. It allows us to be present with those around us and helps us reconnect with ourselves. From time to time, we need a break from technology.