A 2015 study revealed that nearly 95% of Americans own cell phones, with the majority of them also reporting that they keep their phones with them essentially at all times. Even more surprisingly, another study found that the average American spends nearly five hours per day using a cell phone. The issue of "technology addiction" has become very real, especially as it pertains to smartphones. Are you guilty of spending a little bit too much time on your phone? If so, then it may be time to take a step back; in fact, there are a number of physical and mental benefits you can enjoy by ungluing yourself from your phone!
Ever feel like there simply aren't enough hours in the day? Well, you could certainly free some time up for yourself by setting dedicated "phone-free" periods throughout your day. Ironically, while smartphones were designed to help make our lives more convenient and save time, they can have the opposite effect. By limiting your phone use (for example, by not using your phone in the two hours after you get home from work or the hour before you go to bed), you can enjoy extra time to get other things done.
How many times a day do you get distracted by a "ding" notification on your phone, whether it be an e-mail, a game notification, or even a social media comment? If you have a hard time ignoring notifications on your phone, you likely aren't being as productive and focused as you could be, whether it be at work or at home. Consider silencing notifications on your phone while you're working on important projects so you can stay focused and get done sooner.
Did you know that constantly having your communication lines open via your phone can also contribute to your stress? This is especially true for people who respond to work-related e-mails and messages when they're at home and technically off work for the day. Doing so prevents you from shutting off "work mode" in your brain, which can contribute to stress and other issues. Whenever possible, make it a point to delay work-related e-mails until the following day. Setting boundaries can make all the difference in creating a better work-life balance, and smartphones can have a major impact here.
Are you one of many people who has a habit of laying in bed with your phone, scrolling through social media before you go to bed each night? If so, then you could actually be delaying your sleep. That's because smartphone screens emit a bright blue light that is very similar to that of sunlight. As a result, when you're laying in bed at night and staring at your phone screen, your body can interpret this light as sunlight, which in turn inhibits your body's signals that it's time to go to sleep. Specifically, this light can prevent your body from being able to fall asleep easily.
To avoid this, it's recommended that you stop using your smartphone at least an hour (if not two) before you attempt to go to bed. Give it a try and you'll find that you sleep better!
Remember when families used to sit around the dinner table and have a conversation together, rather than eating in silence in front of the TV or staring blankly down at their cell phone screens? By taking time to unglue yourself from your phone, you open yourself up to more opportunities to socialize with the people around you and build stronger relationships with them. Consider implementing a dedicated period of each day with your family/loved ones where phones are to be silence or shut off altogether.
As you can see, there are all kinds of benefits you can begin enjoying by cutting back on your screen time. It's not always easy, but by setting dedicated "phone-free" time throughout your day, you may find that you're a happier, better rested, and more productive person overall.