The science behind taking a break: Digital detox

The science behind taking a break: Digital detox

Does your day start with a scroll on Instagram, through emails or WhatsApp chats? You are not alone. In fact, you're just one of millions of South Africans with the same morning routine. Only, this routine can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. Enter: Digital detox. It's a journey worth embarking on and one that will make you realise just how much time you spend on your phone.

Over the years, being glued to our phones has become normal. This tiny box we carry around all day has the power to keep us connected to the world but also disconnect us from the world around us. This is why the idea of a Digital detox, taking intentional time away from screens and digital devices, might seem scary and even unappealing at first. But trust us- the benefits are many, and they're worth it.

Benefits of a digital detox

Let's face it. We're all guilty of being a bit too attached to our digital devices, right? CapeTalk shared an eye-opening blog article on South Africa's screen time: the average South African spends around 10 hours every day looking at their screen. That's the highest average in the world. 

The World Health Organization recommends just two hours of screen time per day for children aged 5 to 17 years old. Imagine what we adults are doing to our bodies with all that extra screen time. So, it's clear to see that Mzansi is in need of a digital detox. 

Think of a digital detox as:

  • A breather from the blue light bombardment,
  • An escape route from email overload,
  • Your ticket out of social media mayhem.

Your physical health will thank you

Diving into the world of digital detox, you'll discover a treasure trove of physical health benefits.

Step #1: Say goodbye to eye strain. Less screen time means less exposure to harmful blue light, which causes digital eye strain.

Step #2: Your posture will thank you too. Being mindful about your gadget use encourages better body alignment - no more slouching in front of screens.

Bonus benefit: More time for physical activity

The best part? With all this newfound free time away from devices, there's ample opportunity to get moving and engage in regular exercise - something our bodies crave and need.

The science behind screen time and sleep

We all know the drill, right? You're in bed, scrolling through your phone instead of counting sheep. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine determined that using electronic devices close to bedtime can result in a poorer quality of sleep and fewer hours asleep.

Your mobile device emits what's known as blue light. This type of light messes with your body's production of melatonin - a hormone crucial for regulating sleep cycles. A digital detox is the ultimate solution for better Zzzs.

Here's what you can do for improved slumber:

  • Cut off screen time at least an hour before bedtime,
  • Create a relaxing pre-sleep routine free from screens,
  • Maintain this habit consistently - remember consistency is key.

You'll have better productivity and creativity

If you're feeling uninspired or unproductive lately, it's time to consider one. Research conducted by the University of Bournemouth suggests that pausing from digital gadgets can enhance your creative and problem-solving abilities.

#1: Fewer distractions mean more focus.

Without constant notifications buzzing in your pocket, you'll have uninterrupted time to think deeply and innovatively about the tasks at hand.

#2: Your brain gets some well-deserved downtime.

Just like our bodies need rest after physical exertion, our brains also benefit from periods of 'unplugged' relaxation that foster creativity.

How to incorporate a digital detox:

  • Create tech-free zones in your home where no devices are allowed.
  • Schedule specific times during the day when you will completely disconnect.
  • Incorporate regular outdoor activities into your routine without any gadgets tagging along.

5 steps to Create a digital detox plan

In today's digital realm, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the constant influx of information and communication. A digital detox, where you intentionally step away from your devices, can significantly enhance your mental well-being and productivity. Here are five steps for creating a balanced plan that doesn't require completely shelving technology.

1. Identify your specific tech-use patterns

The first step towards successful tech abstinence is understanding your own habits. Are you constantly checking work emails, or do you lose hours scrolling through social media? Identifying these patterns will help tailor an effective detox plan.

2. Set realistic goals

A complete digital detox may not be practical or even desirable for everyone. Instead of going cold turkey on all screens, consider setting specific goals like reducing screen time during meals or after certain hours at night.

3. Practice digital mindfulness

Be aware of how much time you're spending on your devices and just what you're using them for. We can't help but use our laptops for work, but scrolling mindlessly on TikTok for hours at a time might be why you need this digital detox.

4. Reduce screen time before bedtime

Your sleep quality is directly correlated with your screen time. And trust us, it could improve drastically if you reduce screen time before bedtime as part of your digital well-being. The blue light emitted by phones and computers has been shown to interfere with natural sleep patterns causing insomnia and poor-quality sleep.

5. Get creative with boredom

Our greatest fear when it comes to disconnecting from technology is what we're going to do with all that time! But it might be a great time to focus on your hobbies, start/finish a passion project or even pick up that book you've always wanted to read instead. Click to Tweet

So, how about a digital detox?

Studies show that even short periods of disconnecting from electronic devices can have significant positive effects on one's overall well-being. Effectiveness varies based on individual habits and lifestyle. Embarking on a digital detox journey can be transformative. Your mental health gets a boost, and stress levels drop. And your physical well-being? That improves too. You sleep better, deeper, longer. Creativity and productivity skyrocket. Who knew? A break from screens is not just refreshing; it's rejuvenating for the mind and body.

We believe in using technology responsibly - maximising its benefits while minimising potential harm. So why wait? Start your digital detox today and see how much more vibrant life can be without constant screen time! And when you're ready to reconnect digitally, Mobile Store will be here to help you find the perfect device that fits your balanced lifestyle.