Look around at any restaurant, coffee shop, or on the sidewalks of any busy city street, and it won’t take long to notice the amount of cell phones in use.
In our modern society, it’s safe to say technology is king. And whether we want to admit it or not, most of us probably spend way too much time connected to it. Cell phones, computers, tv’s, you name it, and it has our attention for hours and hours each day.
On average, Americans check their phones 63 times a day and have an average screen time of 5.4 hours. And it’s not surprising that social media is a key part of skyrocketing internet addiction. Take it to a worldwide scale and an estimated 330 million people have internet addiction across the globe with the average person spending 2 and a half hours per day on social media.
So what kind of effect does this all have on our health? The short answer is... not a positive one.
Spending too much time on devices can cause physical and emotional damage like depression, anxiety, headaches, and vision problems.
As humans, our bodies are built to move, not stare at a screen. We also need quiet time to just be.
In this blog, we break down why it’s so important to have tech-free time and some of the ways you can reduce screen time on a daily basis.
Why is Unplugging Important?
Tech-free time and spaces are crucial for our overall health. It gives us the opportunity to opt outside and enjoy nature, get in tune with the world around us, and designated time to think and explore hobbies. And not only does it help our physical and mental health, but tech-free time is vital to our relationships too.
In her book The Power of Off, psychotherapist and author Nancy Collier writes that “many people are disconnected from what really matters, from what makes us feel nourished and grounded as human beings.” She then touches on the correlation between tech-free time and relationships by saying, “Our presence, our full attention is the most important thing we can give each other.”
In 2019, David Schramm, an assistant professor at Utah State University and an Extension family life specialist, conducted a survey of 631 parents across the United States between the ages of 21 and 60, asking several questions related to technology use.
Fifty-five percent of participants felt like their spouse/partner spent too much time on their cell phone, and 48 percent wished their significant other would spend less time on their cell phone and more time with their children. Overall, Schramm found that the survey results showed that higher levels of technology use and technoference adds up to significantly less time spent together as a couple, less satisfaction and connection, and higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Benefits of Tech-Free Time
It’s no surprise that we all need more tech-free time. And while we’ve already touched on some of the most important aspects of unplugging, here are some other benefits to keep in mind.
Better sleep Screen time is a vindictive enemy when it comes to settling down and getting a restful night’s sleep, especially if it’s used in the hours right before bedtime. Part of the issue is that blue light from screens impact the brain’s production of melatonin which delays the onset of sleep.
Another reason why it’s a sleep disturber is that most of us are guilty of having our phones next to us when we sleep, so any ding or notification easily wakes us up, interfering with the body’s circadian rhythm.
Tech-free time before bed and making the bedroom a tech-free space can both help you relax, wind down, and get the quality, uninterrupted sleep you need.
More time for hobbies
Taking a break from technology gives you the opportunity to do things you love. Maybe there’s a book you’ve been wanting to read or a project you’ve been hoping to complete? Whatever your hobby, doing what you enjoy can immensely improve your wellbeing and quality of life.
Focus on gratitude
Social media, especially, has a way of making us feel less satisfied with our lives. Why? It subtly makes us compare our lives to what we see. On one daily scroll, you might see the latest expensive vacation your friend took, another person’s promotion, or the new home your old colleague just bought. So while social media may help us stay connected, it also opens the door to unhealthy comparisons.
Taking time away from devices can help you feel re-centered and give you time to meditate and focus on all the wonderful things you have in your life.
How Do You Disconnect from Technology?
If you’re feeling inspired to have more tech-free time in your daily life, here are some ways to help you get started.
- Turn off push notifications
Our phones and computers are constantly lighting up and dinging from emails, text messages, and other pesky notifications. Turning off your push notifications is a great first step to lowering time on technology. If you want to start slowly, try turning them off just one day a week and see how you feel.
- Move electronics to a designated room
Keep your bedroom designated for sleepy time. Merging electronics and work into the bedroom can blur the lines and start affecting your sleep cycle. So let your digital use be a conscious decision — one where you have to walk into the office or living room to use your computer or phone.
- Spend time in tech-free spaces
If you couldn’t already guess, this one is our favorite, because YES sauna time falls into this category.
Tech-free spaces are wonderful, because they force you to have to take time away from technology so you get some much needed “me” time.
But sauna time comes with added health benefits too. The heat in sauna improves blood circulation and allows your body to relax and rejuvenate, while also giving you time to focus on your mind-body connection. Sauna time — without technology — will leave you feeling re-energized and less stressed.
- Delete social media apps on the weekends
Ever been on social media and one click leads to five and all of a sudden 30 minutes have passed? We’re all guilty of scrolling and spending too much of our time on social media.
On the weekends, when free time is precious, try deleting your social media apps from your phone. Don’t worry, all your information will still be there! You’ll just be less tempted to spend time scrolling and more inclined to do the things you love.
Go Tech-Free at Sauna House
Ready for a technology detox? Ditch the phone, and find your zen at Sauna House with access to the bathhouse and infrared sauna. Take your self-care a step further and enjoy a massage with one and our skilled massage therapists.
Book your sauna session here.