Unplug to improve your quality of life

Vanessa Lemke
Staff Writer

Technology, whether that’s a phone, computer, or TV, is a part of almost everyone’s daily routine. There are plenty of benefits to using technology, such as communication and easy access to nearly any information you need, but the benefits of going without technology are often overlooked.

Technology plays an important role in society today, but it can distract from other activities that are crucial parts of life. Some of these activities include spending time with loved ones or friends, getting face-to-face interaction, sports activities and even hobbies.

Focussing on any of these activities can improve quality of life and happiness. It’s difficult to build strong relationships with people such as teammates, family, or friends through a screen. Social interaction is very important and helps you live in the moment and maintain a better outlook in an abundance of areas, both physically and mentally.

Studies from Harvard and research from Sisters of Charity Health System have shown negative effects on sleep and mental health due to technology usage. Both the Harvard study conducted and the research from SCL have shown using technology before bed reduces the total amount of REM sleep, even getting notifications while sleeping can interfere with your deep sleep. Harvard’s study found that people who read e-books compared to paperback books needed an additional 10 minutes to fall asleep. Those people also experienced 90 minutes of delayed melatonin onset and had half the amount of melatonin released into their bodies. Melatonin is a necessity to your body in order to sleep, it’s a hormone released by your brain in response to darkness and simply being on your phone before attempting to sleep can give these same effects. 

Extra time on technology or just lack of sleep also leads to reduced alertness and focus the next morning. It is highly recommended to not use any kind of technology at least 30 minutes before going to sleep to ensure getting the amount of sleep your body needs.

Anxiety and stress increasing from technology is also more common than you may think, especially among teenagers. Social media of all kinds can contribute to this. The amount of likes on a post, beauty standards, fear of judgement from others, and much more can all increase anxiety and cause an overwhelming feeling. Research has shown going without social media and technology or reducing your screen time can increase a person’s happiness levels dramatically.

It’s clear that technology can inhibit a healthy lifestyle, social skills or interactions and even your sleep. After going over some of the benefits of going without technology, will you start leading a healthier lifestyle?

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