Health Advocate Blog

Improve your sleep with a digital detox

We spend a lot of time using phones, computers, tablets, TVs, and other electronic devices. All these screens can make it harder for us to sleep well. That’s where a “digital detox” can be beneficial. A digital detox means taking a break from screen time. Not only can this help improve your sleep, but taking a step back from technology and being present in the moment can have a positive impact on overall well-being, mental health, and relationships.

How this can help improve sleep

When we look at screens, like the ones on our phones and tablets, they give off something called “blue light.” This blue light can mess up our sleep. It tricks our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime, even when it’s bedtime. This makes it tough for us to fall asleep and get good rest. By taking a break from screens, we can avoid this blue light and make it easier for our bodies to get ready for sleep. We can do this by making some simple changes. For example, we can have times when we don’t use screens, like before bed. We can also find other things to do instead of looking at screens, like reading a book or doing something relaxing.

The benefits of better sleep

Getting better sleep can help us in many ways, like:

  • Help us think better and learn more efficiently
  • We may feel happier and in more control of our emotions
  • Our bodies have time to rest and get stronger, which is good for overall health

Tips for a successful digital detox

  • Schedule it. Decide when, for how long, and how often you plan to limit your screen time. According to the National Sleep Foundation, to improve your quality of sleep and prevent the blue light from affecting your sleep, stop your screen time 1 to 2 hours before bed.
  • Find new hobbies or activities to replace screen time, such as reading, painting, or meditating, to break the cycle of seeking entertainment and gratification from digital devices
  • Use the digital detox as an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. Plan activities that don’t involve screens, such as a “no-phone” coffee date or a device-free dinner, so you can spend quality time together
  • Consider journaling during the digital detox to track your thought process and document any benefits you’re noticing
  • Engage in activities that naturally discourage phone use, such as taking yoga classes, going to the movies, or participating in community sports leagues–these places may have no-phone rules
  • Limit social media use and be aware of the potential negative effects of excessive screen time on your mental health and relationship
  • Be mindful of your phone usage even after the detox

Getting good sleep is important for our brains and our bodies. Plan a digital detox to improve your sleep and overall well-being!