Do you need a digital detox? Ask yourself: How many hours a day do you spend floating from app to app on your smartphone, laptop or tablet? 

With the virtual world always close by, users find it difficult to separate themselves from their devices. According to productivity app RescueTime, the average American user spends three hours and 15 minutes on their phone

Although technology benefits our lives in many ways, it does come with it’s fair share of drawbacks — stress, lack of sleep and anxiety being some of the most prevalent. This makes the prospect of a digital detox appealing to those who are starting to feel burnt out. 

What does this detox entail, you ask? Basically, it involves cutting out all technological devices (cellphones, computers, television, tablets and social media) for a certain period of time. This could be a few days, a week or even a month — it’s up to you to decide. 

Now, let's take a look five reasons why you should do a digital detox:

1. You will sleep better

For most people, their phone is the first thing they look at before they go to sleep, as well as when they wake up — this has a negative effect on the quality of sleep. 

When used before bed, digital devices can impair our bodies’ ability to produce melatonin, a chemical that prepares us to relax and get to bed. This is because the blue light from your screen triggers your brain to be awake and active, making it more difficult to fall asleep. 

Therefore, if you decide to go on a detox and cut technology out leading up to bedtime, you will have a way better night's sleep. 

2. It allows you to reconnect with the world around you

Many companies have adopted a work-from-home strategy, which can make it difficult to separate work from day-to-day life. 

This being said, users can very easily fall into the trap of checking their work emails or communicating with their colleagues during their downtime due to an ‘always-on’ attitude.

In the absence of a work-life balance, users may find themselves disconnected from their loved ones and their environment, because they simply are too distracted by their devices and do not have the time. Taking part in a digital detox may help to alleviate this strain.

This is because, once you switch off your phone, you are able to refocus your efforts into really connecting with those around you and put effort into sustaining those relationships. This can help to alleviate stress and anxiety, and improve your relationships

3. A digital detox increases your productivity

Realistically, many users are not aware of how much free time they would have on their hands if they had to cut technology out of their lives, with the average user opening their phones up to 58 times a day.

If you are constantly checking your devices for notifications, you may be distracted from other tasks that need your attention, leading to your productivity taking a hit. 

Removing digital distractions will help you to motor through that to-do list. This can also benefit your mood as you are able to achieve more in a day, and thus, feel a greater sense of accomplishment. 

4. Your health will improve

The excessive use of your digital devices can negatively affect your health in the following ways:
  • Increased risk of heart disease — Those that report high screen times are “more than twice as likely to experience a major cardiac event.”
  • Postural issues — Sitting by your computer all day or consistently bending your neck to look at your phone can result in a case of ‘tech-neck’ where users experience neck and lower back pain.
  • Repetitive Strain Injury or tendonitis — Regularly holding your phone in one hand and using your thumb to scroll can lead to inflammation of the tendons in your hand — and no one wants that.
  • Heightened stress and anxiety — As stated previously, many users adopt an ‘always-on’ attitude when it comes to their digital devices. Not having clear downtime where you do not use these devices can result in increased anxiety and stress. 
  • Eye strain — Too much screen time can have disastrous effects on your eyes, resulting in headaches, difficulty refocusing and dry eyes. 
 Taking time for a digital detox will help you to refocus on wellness, resulting in a healthier and happier you. 

5. You will feel more content

It is clear that digital dependency can negatively affect one’s mental health; it monopolises your attention and takes you away from living in the present. This can result in anxiety, stress, burnout and depression

In addition to this, social media perpetuates a culture of comparison. This means that  users are simultaneously showcasing the best snippets of their lives and constantly trying to keep up with the (metaphorical) ‘Joneses’. 

While it is all good and well to highlight life's best moments on social media, it can become easy to get lost in the facade of things and feel like everyone’s life is perfect. This is far from true and can negatively affect users with the need for comparison and feelings of inadequacy.  

Taking time for a digital detox can help you to refocus your efforts on yourself and on the good in your life, allowing for a greater sense of contentment.  

Have you ever done a digital detox? Did it have a positive effect on you? Let us know in the comments section below.

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If you want to know more about the relationship between social media and mental health, then be sure to check out why Social media and mental health fit together like two puzzle pieces
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy