Summer is quickly approaching, and you’re probably looking forward to taking a vacation from work. But while you’re relaxing away from your office, you may also want to think about taking another type of vacation: a “tech-cation” (vacation from technology). Research has suggested that our constant use of digital technology has a serious impact on our health.
Taking a week long tech-cation could make you feel even better than a week-long retreat in the Cayman Islands. Let’s look at some of the benefits of a tech-cation.
There’s no question that using technology right before bed—as 90 percent of Americans do—has a negative impact on sleep. Multiple studies, like this one, have found that people who use light-emitting electronic devices before bed take longer to fall asleep, have poorer sleep quality, and are more likely to feel tired in the morning.
The theory is that the light from our electronic devices disrupts our natural Circadian rhythm, which makes us sleep during the night and stay awake during the day. Taking a break from technology could allow your body to restore its natural rhythm, so you feel more refreshed when you wake up and more wakeful during the day.
You can most likely retain these benefits when you go back to using your devices; as long as you don’t use them before bed time.
Back pain relief
This study found that tilting your head down to read something on your smartphone can put as much as 60 pounds of pressure on your neck. Staying in this poor posture for long periods of time (the average person spends 2-4 hours a day reading their smartphones) can cause serious back and spinal issues.
If you suffer from back pain, you may want to try taking a tech-cation to see if it provides relief. When you do go back to reading your devices, try to maintain an upright posture whenever you do.
Too much screen time could put you at a higher risk for getting migraine headaches, according to this study. Staring at a screen for prolonged periods can also cause Digital Eye Strain, the symptoms of which are blurry vision and headaches.
Taking a tech-cation could relieve these symptoms, but what about when you have to go back to your office job? You can avoid Digital Eye Strain by taking frequent breaks to rest your eyes throughout the day.
Lower stress levels
Technology is linked to stress in multiple ways. We’ve already discussed how using digital technology before bed can lead to poor sleep, and poor sleep can cause stress. Additionally, a study on teenagers found that more time spent on social media was associated with greater social anxiety.
Whether social media use increases or decreases overall stress levels seems to depend on how you use social media. If social media makes you more aware of stressful events in other people’s lives, you may want to take a break to bring your stress levels down.
Feel closer to friends and family
This study on college students found that friends felt much closer when they interacted face-to-face, rather than interacting remotely. Taking a break from technology may encourage you to seek out more face-to-face interactions with people you care about; which will bring you closer together.
There’s no doubt that technology has made immense improvements in our lives; but there are certainly benefits to limiting our daily use of digital devices. Once you take a long break from technology, you may be inspired to use it less frequently when your tech-cation is over.