While technology has its perks, it also can cause considerable harm to your sleep, stress and motivation levels if you’re not careful. In fact, scientists have found that screen time at night can wreck your sleep, while social media can make you lose your motivation.
This is why people all over the world are taking the time to unplug and recharge their life with technology cleanses.
“There is no Wi-Fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection.”
Unplugging from technology for short periods of time allows you to rebalance your body and mind. It can be hard at first, but it’s totally worth the effort considering the benefits you can experience. Here are 5 life-changing reasons to unplug and recharge.
If you have more chance of finding a unicorn than feeling well-rested when you wake up, it might be time for a technology reset.
You’re not alone in dealing with painful sleep deprivation. Up to 68% of Americans have trouble sleeping or staying asleep (1). So why is lack of sleep such an issue?
Experts believe that screen time is to blame. Whenever you watch TV or especially if you browse on your smartphone at night, you are setting yourself up for fatigue the next day (2).
That’s because electronic screens emit a frequency of blue light that signals your body that it’s daytime. This prevents your body from producing melatonin, a key hormone involved in sleep.
By unplugging a couple of hours before bed, you can experience huge changes in energy throughout the day due to better sleep.
Are smartphones mind-control devices? No. Are they capable of disrupting cognitive function. Yes, it turns out.
Smartphones, social media, email, and any other technology that provides instant gratification are incredibly distracting, which can decrease cognitive performance and reasoning ability.
A study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that when people are involved in a challenging task and their phones beep or buzz, their focus and work quality plummets. And that happens even if they don’t actually check their phone (3).
Another groundbreaking study found that how close your phone is can directly affect brain power (4). When the phone is moved further away, the ability to focus, problem solve, and interpret complex ideas all improved.
The idea here is that people are overly attuned to the instant gratification of technology. When you take time to unplug, you give your mind the opportunity to focus 100% on the task at hand.
Unplugging from technology will also encourage you to participate in real social interactions. That means talking in person with a friend at a coffee shop instead of talking via text.
Why is this important? Social media, texting, and email has given us the false impression that we are socializing. It’s like a social mirage.
Deep down, these forms of communication don’t satisfy our social needs. In fact, it can actually make people feel more disconnected and lonely (5).
Social belonging and interactions are essential for a healthy mind and body. Having a lack of social connection is even considered as great a risk factor as smoking when it comes to your health (6).
The take-home message here is that unplugging and re-engaging in real social interactions can elevate your well-being and make you happier.
The next time you go to a concert, sports game, or any other event, pay close attention to what people are doing.
More often than not, you will notice people are using their phone in one way or another. Some are taking photos of the game or trying to capture that perfect selfie for Instagram. Others are just browsing the internet.
How can you fully enjoy a concert or sports game if you are too busy recording it or taking a selfie? How can you enjoy your child’s birthday party if you keep checking your phone for an email from work?
When your mind is doing something else, you could be missing out on a lot of life’s important moments. All of which creates unnecessary stress.
But when you remove technology from the equation, your mind is less likely to wander away from the present moment. And when you manage to keep your mind in the moment, studies suggest that it can improve your mood and quality of life (7).
The average Apple phone user checks their phone up to 80 times per day—that’s almost 30,000 times over the course of a year (8).
Most people are addicted to the instant gratification technology provides. And the culprit is a chemical in the brain called dopamine.
Research suggests that dopamine causes you to want, desire, and seek out rewarding behaviors (9). Under normal circumstances, this is great for helping you strive towards your goals.
However, technology can hijack this process, which reduces your motivation for long-term goals. Getting notifications or likes makes your brain feel rewarded, and over time, your brain becomes dependent on instant gratification. Some studies even suggest it rewires your brain to develop a resistance to dopamine (10).
Routinely taking technology cleanses can help you reset and recharge your reward system. That way you can regain your motivation for the things that matter in life.
Bottom line, the world is becoming increasingly addicted to technology. And while technology certainly has its benefits, it also has a negative impact on your health if you’re not careful.