To say that we are one with our technological devices is beating a dead horse. Our phones, search engines, computers, tablets, TVs and even gaming devices know more about our personal lives than our neighbors and some friends. While technology helps us stay organized, provides entertainment and even keeps track of our health stats, the need to take a step away from the screen is vital. For most this is easier said than done; however, turning yourself on airplane mode might be the smartest thing you have done in a long time.
At Kansas State University, researchers have discovered that although it may seem counter-productive, we really do need a break from the daily grind to mentally recharge for the next day. In fact, non-stop connection with co-workers or assignments induces chronic stress, but it prevents your brain from relaxing and recovering from a busy day. This subtracts from one’s ability to prepare for tomorrow. Drawing a boundary and creating a daily time for no work-interaction will do yourself a favor as well as your employer, professor and families.
Newsflash, multi-tasking actually doesn’t work. Juggling emails, assignments and text messages isn’t doesn’t promote productivity or quality. Studies show that people who claim to be expert multitaskers are actually the worst at it when they’re put to the test (Forbes). They also are more prone to make impulsive decisions and lack good judgement. When you stop multi-tasking you might seem like your losing ground; yet, the ability to focus is becoming a lost art that might be worth your time to re-visit.
In addition to sabotaging your performance, technology is linked to mental health problems. In 2015, Swedish researchers found that “young people who used technology heavily had a pronounced risk for mental health problems like depression, stress, and sleep disorders.” Yikes. These groups of Swedes aren’t the only ones who have come to this conclusion. Furthermore, different researchers have proposed that social media has negative side effects. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram might intend to unify minds; nevertheless, results reveal that these platforms can make people feel lonesome, exhausted, envious, and unconfident. “Regularly using a computer late at night is associated not only with sleep disorders but also with stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women,” said author Sara Thomée. The light emitted by devices is linked to reduced serotonin levels after two hours of use. Serotonin is the “sleep hormone,” so a reduced level might be the culprit of an awful night of sleep.
Your devices can make unplugging easy. Personally, my favorite feature on the iPhone is the “Do Not Disturb,” function. I can program my phone to stay silent and not light up starting around bedtime and into the morning. Use this, airplane mode, or just turn everything off, you’ll be doing yourself a favor as well as everyone else around you.