As our relationship with mobile devices has grown, the research shows that excessive media use is not good for us physically, mentally, or emotionally. The good news is that taking a media break is a powerful way to improve our well-being. Below are 5 reasons for you to take a break from screens
1. Present-moment awareness
The vast majority of adults carry their mobile phones throughout the day, rarely turning them off. It is no surprise that incoming texts, emails, and notifications are a near-constant presence for many people meaning our moment-to-moment experience is being fragmented on an unprecedented scale.
We know that going “cold turkey” from all screens is unrealistic for most people, phones and computers are the main links to family, friends, work, and other commitments and most of us need to check and reply to messages at least once a day. Try to break the habit of constantly checking your phone. This can actually improve your mental health, reduce anxiety and actually enjoy what is going on around you!
2. Improved sleep
Electronic devices not your friend when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, especially if it’s used in the hours close to bedtime. This is partly due to the physiological effects of the “blue light” of the screen, which impacts the brain’s production of melatonin, delaying the onset of sleep.
In addition, we have probably all just done a “quick check” of our phones or computers at night that inadvertently leads to many unplanned minutes (or hours) of use. When this happens at night, we lose sleep. It’s also increasingly common for people to sleep with their phones nearby, which means that calls and texts can awaken them.
For all these reasons, many experts suggest that we should avoid screens in the hours leading up to bedtime, sleep is one of the single most important foundations of physical and mental health.
3. Deepened connections
Social media leads to social connection, but the full richness of human relationships can only be enjoyed with face-to-face contact. People feel less connected to conversations, partners, and found their partners less empathically attuned, when a cell phone was present during conversations.
Having a break from screens can improve connections with family, friends, and colleagues. A break from media allows us to nourish our relationships. You may well be surprised to find yourself feeling more, rather than less, connected when we disconnect from media.
4. Productivity and learning
Research suggests that as the brain grows more dependent on phone technology, our intellect weakens. The presence of a mobile phone, even when ignored, can reduce your levels of concentration and productivity.
To regain productivity keep it accessible, but not necessarily in view. Unless you are expecting an important call or are required to be reachable around the clock, consider keeping it out of sight until you absolutely have to use it. Keep it out of sight during important meetings and conversations.
5. More Free Time
Yes, free time is a health benefit. Think of how many people put off making healthy changes in their lives because they “don’t have time to cook” or “can’t make it to the gym every day.” It’s possible to eat a perfectly healthy diet in a time-crunched schedule, but it’s certainly much easier and more pleasant when you can take your time making dinner and experiment with new and different recipes.
Unplugging can give you that time. People spend an average of 4.8 hours per day on their mobile phones, according to a 2020 study by monitoring firm App Annie. Think of all the extra free time you could have if you just stopped constantly checking your phone. This makes a healthy lifestyle easier – which means you’re much more likely to stick to it.