5 Scientifically Proven Benefits To Unplugging From Technology
In today's technology-driven world, it's easy to feel like we are constantly plugged in. Whether we're checking our phones, refreshing our emails, or downloading a movie on our laptops, the reality often is that we're surrounded by screens no matter where we look. But there are scientifically proven benefits of unplugging from technology, too — and sometimes, it's useful to remind ourselves of exactly what those benefits are. There's more to life than our smartphones, after all.
Many of us likely agree that technology adds a lot of ease, convenience, and even happiness to our lives. Few people will suggest that we disconnect entirely from our screens, but it's worth remembering that some distance can be a good thing, too — especially for those of us who are already tied to our computers much of the time because of work or school obligations. Setting up boundaries is generally healthy, and putting up a few lines when it comes to our screen time isn't a bad idea, especially if you feel like your days consist of eating, sleeping, and screens.
So, what are some of the benefits of unplugging from tech on a regular basis? Thankfully, there's a lot of research on the subject to let us know exactly what's what. That said, though, it's also important to remember that what is feasible for you might not work for others, and vice-versa. And that's OK! We all have our own obligations and uses for technology. The key is finding what boundaries work for you so you can find the balance that works best for your own life.
Here's a good place to start:
Your Overall Quality Of Life May Improve
In a study from the University of Maryland, researchers discovered that when students unplugged from technology, they reported an improved quality of life. In the context of this study, an "improved quality of life" meant that study participants spent more time with friends and family, got more frequent exercise, and even cooked more often and ate healthier foods. How did all of these lovely changes occur? Less time spent on their phones gave them the "free" time to spend elsewhere!
Unplugging After Work Helps You Recharge
Researchers from Kansas State University have found that unplugging after work can make a big difference in your quality of life, health, and happiness. Researchers found that when people "unplugged" from work related tasks, such as checking their work email after hours, they reported feeling fresher and better recharged when beginning work the following day. For anyone who has ever experienced burn-out at work, this isn't too surprising. We can only do so much for so long before feeling exhausted, and constantly plugging into our screens doesn't help matters.
You Might Sleep Better
Data from a 2013 survey in PEW shows that 44 percent of people sleep with their phones by their sides so they don't miss a message or notification. But being woken up by funny tweets and random GIFs from your friends is likely doing nothing for your sleep patterns, much less your mood upon waking up in the morning. And if you're waking up in the middle of the night to check work emails, that doesn't suggest anything good, either, because you aren't giving your brain and body proper time to recharge.
Other research suggests that the blue light from the screens in our computers and phones also makes it difficult for our bodies to fall asleep, implying that we should disconnect before bed, rather than falling asleep while staring at our laptops.
It Might Make It Easier To Get Over Your Ex
According to a 2012 study, unplugging from tech might even help you get over your ex. Of course, while pretty much nothing except for time and a few good cries truly heals the wounds of a breakup, constantly seeing reminders of your ex on social media doesn't make things any easier.
In fact, study results show that if you follow your ex on social media, such as view their pictures or read their blog, you may have a harder time moving on and focusing on your future. Study participants reported feeling more sexual desire for their ex and less negative feelings for their ex when frequently checking their social media, as well as feeling less desire for their own personal growth.
Unplugging May Improve Your Interpersonal Communications
A 2013 study suggests that sharing too much on social media may negatively impact your interpersonal relationships. If you've ever accidentally "shared" a post that is offensive to a loved one, or vented about a boss and then been held accountable at work the next day, you likely know all too well that sharing online can have consequences.
This study, interestingly, points out that unplugging from technology might benefit your in-person communication and interpersonal relationships because it encourages you to communicate outside of the screen- and text-based medium. While technology makes communication super fast and convenient, it also removes body language, tone, and other things which help us understand one another and form bonds.