Defeating Digital Distraction. Alternative Ways to Wind Down your Day

Defeating Digital Distraction. Alternative Ways to Wind Down your Day

By Bethan Townsend

When was the last time you checked your phone? Your email? Chances are it wasn’t that long ago and though technology has afforded us many benefits, the mental effects can be damaging.

Digital distraction can lead to higher levels of stress, difficulty in concentration and even communication. Evidence suggests that too much screen time can lead to:

  • Significantly higher levels of stress, with the term ‘technostress’ even being used by some researchers
  • Inability to switch off, especially from work, as instant access to email and files makes it hard to simply end the work day and enjoy down time
  • Increased anxiety and even the development of ‘phantom vibration syndrome’ where individuals perceive their phone is going off when it isn’t. Higher levels of anxiety have been closely linked to those who spend significant time on their phones.
  • Concentration levels drop as too many distractions from social media to news websites draw people away from their work or task in hand
  • Disrupted sleep as your brain has been fired up and stimulated by screens for too long and settling in a dark, quiet environment is difficult.

If you’re looking to wind down and settle into a naturally relaxed state here are a few tips.

Gentle Exercise

Though exercise in the last 2-3 hours before sleep isn’t recommended as your body will be energised and it is harder to relax, exercising gently in the evening, with time to spare, can help tire your body out. Exercise such as a gentle walk, thirty-forty minutes of yoga or Pilates can help your body release stress and prime it for a good night’s sleep.

Meditate and Reflect

Breathing exercises combined with traditional meditation techniques or even just reflective thought can help bring your body into a naturally relaxed state. Whether you choose to follow a known meditation method or your own reflective thoughts, is entirely up to you. It’s the chance to enjoy quiet time away from the screens which makes all the difference.

Set the Scene

Your bedroom needs to be designed with sleep in mind. Ban all screens, keep lights low and furnishings comfortable and entirely for sleep. Clutter should be a big no-no as you want to relax into an environment which is peaceful and isn’t littered with things that need putting away, sorting out and organising.

Living without technology is beyond almost all of us, it’s become as essential for work and general life but taking time away for the benefit of both our bodies and minds is equally essential.

 

Comments

Joseph M.
27 October 2014

Joseph M.

I think I agree with Mike, my phone is integral to so many things it needs to be accessible and nearby. I'm lucky I have no trouble sleeping from what your article says!

Phillip H.
23 October 2014

Phillip H.

call me old fashioned - but I also have a landline phone, an alarm clock, a laptop and a small basic mobile. Tech in the bedroom really does disturb my sleep, and I certainly don't want a mobile there!

Mike D.
23 October 2014

Mike D.

I try not to check my email too much but can't help being at the beck and call of my mobile phone. But to be honest, I think there's more things to worry about. It doesn't do serious harm to anyone, and can be easily amended if you feel you're getting too much 'tech time'.

Tanya M.
23 October 2014

Tanya M.

I try and keep my phone out of the bedroom but it's hard when you use it for everything. I have invested in an alarm clock like Clare though and my phone is just outside the door on a cabinet, if it does ring and I need to answer it I can but it's not within arm's reach. It makes for a better night's sleep.

Clare R.
23 October 2014

Clare R.

all of this is exactly why I don't have a smartphone. I have an alarm clock to wake me up, a small simple mobile phone if people need to contact me, and I work/email etc on a laptop. The home router goes off at 1030pm too so it makes sure I switch off!

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