A Digital Detox: Is it for You?

Do you habitually check the news feeds on your smartphone before falling asleep?

On awakening do you check Facebook on your phone?

Are you finding it challenging to fall asleep, and do you often awaken feeling unrested?

Do you feel stressed, and have difficulty focusing?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of the above questions, you are not alone, AND you may benefit from a digital detox.

What exactly is a digital detox? According to Wikipedia, a digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic connecting devices such as smartphones and computers.”  It is recommended that you do a digital detox for 24 hours or more.

The Evidence[1]

Did you know that:

  • 67% of cellphone owners find themselves checking their device even when it’s not ringing or vibrating
  • One out of ten Americans report depression; heavy internet users are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed
  • 95% of people use some type of electronics in the hour leading up to bed, and
    artificial light from screens increases alertness and suppresses the hormone melatonin by up to 22%  negatively affecting sleep, performance and mood
  • Unplugging for just one day can give some users mental and physical withdrawal symptoms.

The Benefits of a Digital Detox

Scientific studies and social experiments have noted the following results from digital detoxing:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Improved sleep/reduced fatigue
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased connection with self and others leading to improved relationships
  • Improved focus
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased energy
  • Improved memory
  • Increased clarity
  • Enhanced health

Getting Started/How to do a Digital Detox

Frances Booth[2] shares some valuable suggestions on how to do a digital detox. She and others recommend the following.

Create a Positive Mindset

Identify for yourself why you want to do the detox and the benefits it will provide. While thinking about each benefit, imagine how you will feel in your body when you have achieved it. For example, how will it feel to be more productive, more creative, more connected to family and friends, more relaxed. … .

Plan Ahead

Identify a 24-hour period when you want to try a digital detox. Ideally make it a weekend or a time when you aren’t working. Tell your family and friends your plans, and why you’re doing it.

Plan some time in nature, as being among trees reduces blood pressure, reduces your heart rate and increases the number of natural killer cells your body produces.

Plan some one-on-one time with your partner, a friend or your family to truly connect with them.

Ask for Support

Tell your family and friends of your plans, and why you’re doing it.

You may wish to invite a partner or friend to do the detox with you. Support is important when changing any behavior.

Notice How You feel and Express Yourself

When you start the detox, notice how your feel. It’s not unusual to be fidgety and have some withdrawal symptoms. You may find it helpful to write down your feelings. If you feel the urge to connect, take some deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Experience the feelings rather than “pushing them down”.

During the detox and after, notice what you notice and write down those feelings.

Make Digital Detoxing a Habit

The more digital detoxing you do, the easier it becomes. Try unplugging for at least 90 minutes before you go to bed each night. Go offline for 24 hours each weekend.

Parting Words

I love the tagline of http://digitaldetox.org/   “Disconnect to Reconnect”. Unplugging is relatively easy, yet the results are profound.

An Invitation

I invite you to try a digital detox. If you’ve already tried one, please share your experiences and comments below. Share this post with people you care about who could benefit.








[1] http://digitaldetox.org/manifesto/

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/francesbooth/2014/06/13/how-to-do-a-digital-detox/3/#7461fa00253e

  • Comments 10

    1. Laurie Seymour
      January 25, 2017

      I learned a while ago that I cannot do any screens in the evening. That includes reading on my iPad! It consistently interrupted my sleep. I still like to read before sleep so I have a paper book for that.
      Great tips, Pamela! Thanks.

      1. pam
        January 25, 2017

        Hi Laurie, Good for you to make the link and change to a paperback book! Happy you found the tips useful. Warm Regards, Pam

    2. Mihaela Lica Butler
      January 25, 2017

      Hi Pamela, nope, not for me. I only use my iPhone for its alarm feature (to wake up in the morning – LOOOOL), and to make calls. Oh… and rarely to post on Instagram. I work a lot with social media, and by the end of the day I am happy to log off, grab a book, or just enjoy the real, tangible word! 🙂

      1. pam
        January 25, 2017

        Good for you Mihaela! Thanks for sharing how you relate to your digital devices. More of us could learn from you 🙂

    3. Barb Parcells
      January 25, 2017

      I think Sundays would be a perfect time to do this!

      1. pam
        January 25, 2017

        Hi Barb, Yes, I’ve found Sundays and Saturdays work best for me, and have been following the no screens within 90 minutes of bed time rule for several years now. I must confess that I sometimes break that rule! Warm Regards, Pam

    4. Debra
      January 25, 2017

      I was off for almost a week with virtually no Internet. And I loved it.
      Thanks for sharing.

      1. pam
        January 25, 2017

        Hi Debra, Yes, it is amazing how much more relaxed we feel after unplugging for a few days! Thanks for sharing your experience. Warm Regards, Pam

    5. Suzie Cheel
      January 25, 2017

      I am going to follow the 90 minutes of no screen time before bed during the week – and it will be a challenge- although I can spend a day without screens and also feel revived

      1. pam
        January 26, 2017

        Hi Suzie, Good for you! Let me know how the 90 minutes of no screen time before bed works out for you. Warm Regards, Pam

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