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Do Not Disturb: 5 Benefits of a Digital Detox

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Feeling overwhelmed by the constant stream of texts, emails and nonstop push notifications? It might be time to cut back on your phone time with a digital detox. No matter your reasoning—stress, sadness or simply because you want to challenge yourself—a digital detox will prove beneficial for your brain and body.

According to a study by the Radiological Society of North America, your intense connection with  digital devices could actually be shifting the way your brain operates. Pretty scary, right? Take charge of your mental and physical health by hitting do not disturb for at least 24 hours this spring. Here are five of the many benefits you’ll receive by stepping away from your phone for even a day:

Promote Good Posture

Ever get a crick in your neck after bending down to read your screen? Those aches and pains can actually cause lasting damage. The strain, aptly named “tech neck,” is the act of stressing and tensing your muscles while you use your phones, tablets and computers. The muscles in the back of your neck are working hard to keep your head up as you swipe and scroll. The result is shoulder and neck stiffness and soreness that can lead to headaches, neck spasms and creaky shoulder joints. Staying off the phone for even a few hours a day or opting for a standing desk at work could do wonders for your posture.

Expand Your Attention Span

Microsoft conducted a study in 2015 that showed humans’ attention spans had fallen to a meager 8 seconds—that’s less than a goldfish’s span. How did we get this way? Too much, too fast. Research suggests our consumption of media happens far too often and far too quickly, making it hard for us to stay interested in one thing for a long period of time. By cutting back on the clickbait and the constant stream of social media posts, digital downtime can increase your attention span as much as 50 percent.

Improve Your Eating Habits

Not only can social media encourage an unhealthy body image, it can actually promote unhealthy eating. Eating can be triggered by the mere sight of foods. Research conducted by the Journal of Neuroscience claims that viewing delicious (but probably high-calorie and high-fat) foods on social media can induce cravings and eventually cause you to eat (or even overeat) the desired food. How can you curb your cravings? Unfollow your favorite foodie accounts or better yet, avoid scrolling through your phone when hunger hits.

Support a Good Night’s Sleep

You’ve heard it a million times before—stay off your phone before bed. But the science behind the theory stands. The blue light caused by screens can mess with your natural sleep cycle. Lack of sleep or restless sleep has other implications for your health, like increased risk of serious illnesses like metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Make your bedroom a no-phone zone and see just how quickly you’ll catch some quality zzz’s.

Boost Your Mood

While scrolling through your phone for a few minutes might bring you happiness and relaxation, heavy usage will not. The Happiness Institute recently conducted a study on 1,095 people, half of which were asked to quit Facebook for a week. The results were telling—the Facebook-free individuals felt a significantly higher level of life satisfaction, felt happier and less lonely, less envious and increased their social life. A week without comparing yourself to your friends’ and colleagues’ best photos might be just what you’ve been looking for to boost your mood.

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