Knock Out Your Stress: Electronic Usage

Phone

Is checking your phone the last thing you do each night?  If you find yourself night after night checking Facebook, sending a text message, or even reading one last “weird news” article before bed, you aren’t alone.  89 percent of cell phone users keep their cell phones in their bedrooms at night with 56 percent keeping it within arm’s reach.  For 14- to 17-year-olds, the overwhelming majority keep their phones in their bedrooms (many even keeping them under their pillow while they sleep)[1].

Technology is responsible for many advances in our society, and we’re connected like never before.  Being able to connect to anyone in a click of a button has its advantages, but did you know too much connectedness can actually be harmful for your health?  It’s true.  Technology use, particularly before bed, disrupts sleep, contributes to insomnia, and increases stress[2].  Studies have also shown that frequent cell phone use amongst teenagers has been linked to depression and other mental health problems[3].

Instead of letting checking your phone be the last thing you do each night, try to replace that habit with something that can reduce stress and rejuvenate your mind and body, like reading a book, writing in a journal about your day, or even taking a warm bath.  Set technology boundaries by agreeing on a set time each evening to “turn off” the technology and devote that time to your health.  It may be difficult at first and you may even experience some anxiety, but stick with it for at least 30 days to create a new habit.


 

[1] Vitelli, Romeo Ph. D.  Stress, Texting, and Being Social.  December 13, 2013. Psychology Today.  Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/media-spotlight/201312/stress-texting-and-being-social on March 25, 2014.

[2] Rettner, Rachael.  Technology Use Before Bed Linked with Increased Stress.  May 26, 2013.  Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/34807-technology-before-bed-increases-stress.html on March 25, 2014.

[3] Pedersen, Tracy.  Heavy Cell Phone Use Linked to Depression, Sleep Problems in Young People.  Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/17/heavy-cell-phone-use-linked-to-depression-sleep-problems-in-young-people/40262.html on March 25, 2014.