Research – Digital Detox 2017-01-13T13:41:59+00:00

Research – Digital Detox

Linda Stone, founder of the terms “email apnea” and “screen apnea”, studied the breathing habits of over 200 people while using screens. She discovered approximately 80% of individuals hold their breaths and/or breath shallowly when on computers and phones. When breathing is affected like this bodies and minds go in a constant state of high alert, stress levels are increased, attitude is impacted, as is one’s sense of emotional well-being and ability to work effectively. Suggested remedies include: occasionally switching off; speaking directly to colleagues rather than relying on email, when possible; mindfully working on breathing techniques; and using new Conscious Computing technologies to help use technology with intent.

Here’s a link to Stone’s original report:

Just Breathe: Building the case for Email Apnea

Learn about what Conscious Computing is here:

The Connected Life: From Email Apnea to Conscious Computing

Find more on Linda Stone and her work on technology, health and well-being here:

Linda Stone – Website

(If you have any problems following links in our research, then please copy and paste the text from our footnote* into your browser top bar)

Kate Unsworth, CEO of Kovert Designs, a company that makes connected jewellery designed to decrease independence on smartphones based on their own scientific research, invited 35 CEOS, entrepreneurs, and other influences on a trip to Morocco to study their behaviour with and without technology. Undercover neuroscientists observed for the four days when the guests did not have access to digital devices that the posture of the participants improved, stronger friendships developed, their memory improved, more efficient sleep was had and new perspectives developed. On the day when the subjects had plenty of access to digital technology, Google was a conversation killer. Following the experiment, many of the guests made significant changes to their lives when they were offline for a while. Some decided to make big changes in their career or relationships, while others decided to recommit to health and fitness.

Find more on Unsworth and Kovert’s digital detox experiment here:

Kate Unsworth – Profile

What Really Happens to Your Brain and Body During a Digital Detox

Affect of the Digital Age on Sleep, Stress and Mental Health

Professor Richard Wiseman explains how the light from smartphones and other screens disrupts the production of our “sleep hormone” melatonin, which only comes out at dark, and throws off our circadian rhythms. This prevents deep, restorative sleep, causing an increase in stress and depressive symptoms.

Watch this two-minute video for a simple explanation and to hear ideas of how to combat the modern day problem:

Sleep Smart – Avoiding the blues

Sara Thomée et al. at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy found an intensive use of computers and mobile phones was linked to an increase in stress, sleep disorders and depressive symptoms, when analysing the effects of information and communication technology (ICT) usage on young adults. Those who were heavy users of both devices had greater associations to the negative effects.

Download the full report here:

ICT use and mental health in young adults: Effects of computer and mobile phone use on stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression

Different Digital Detoxes

Gloria Mark, Stephen Voida and Armand Cardello found stress is lowered and productivity improved, with an increased ability to focus and need to multitask less. The study involved cutting off the email usage of 13 information technology employees for five days.

Find more on the research here:

“A Pace Not Dictated by Electrons”: An Empirical Study of Work Without Email

Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth W. Dunn found when adults were limited to checking their emails just three times a day for one week their daily stress levels were significantly lower than during a comparison week, in which they had unlimited email access. These reduced stress levels, in turn, lead to greater well-being overall.

Find the study here:

Checking email less frequently reduces stress

Morten Tromholt et al., researchers at the Danish think tank The Happiness Research Institute, found those who stopped using Facebook for a week were happier, more decisive, less worried, saw an increase in their social activity, felt like they wasted less time and were less lonely than the control group. Those who took part in this version of a digital detox saw their self-reported life satisfaction rating go up from an average of 7.56 to 8.12 after just seven days away from the social media site.

Download the report and find out more on the Happiness Research Institute here:

‘The Facebook Experiment: Does social media affect the quality of our lives?’

Overview of Digital Use Today

Check out this infographic created by Happify, a website dedicated to helping people build skills for happiness through science-based activities and games, to see the stats, positives and negatives of living in a digital age:

Happiness in the Digital Age

Dr Paul Howard-Jones has authored a report for the Nominate Trust that summarises what the field of neuroscience has to say about the implications of interactive technology use on the brains, behaviours and attitudes of young people.

Download the report here:

The Impact of Digital Technology on Human Wellbeing: Evidence from the Sciences of Mind and Brain

Using Technology for the Positive:  Acacia C. Parks et al. sought to learn more about the characteristics and behaviours of those who seek happiness through using online methods to administer and record the effects of happiness-increasing interventions. The authors found online technologies, in particular smartphone software, can be effective tools used to improve the mood and mental well-being of happiness seekers when the participants consciously used them to their own preferences and schedules, with intent.

Click here for more:

Pursuing Happiness in Everyday Life: The Characteristics and Behaviors of Online Happiness Seekers

Resources to Help Your Conscious Computing

Monitor your digital usage with:

Checky (www.checkyapp.com) for your mobile devices (Free App)

RescueTime (www.rescuetime.com) for your computer (Basic Version is free)

Website dedicated to those wanting to do a Digital Detox with further research and advice:

It’s Time to Log Off

Book by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport:

10-Minute Digital Declutter: The Simple Habit To Eliminate Technology Overload

Some websites to help block internet access and make technology less distracting:

Mac Freedom macfreedom.com

Flux stereopsis.com/flux

Buddhify buddhify.com

OmmWriter ommwriter.com

Calm Down mermodynamics.com/calmdown/

Footnote*

(If you have any problems following links in our research, then please copy and paste the text below relating to the article you wish to see into your browser top bar)

Linda Stone
Just Breathe: Building the case for Email Apnea
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-stone/just-breathe-building-the_b_85651.html

The Connected Life: From Email Apnea to Conscious Computing
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-stone/email-apnea-screen-apnea-_b_1476554.html

Linda Stone – Website
http://lindastone.net

Kate Unsworth
Kate Unsworth – Profile
http://kateunsworth.com

What Really Happens to Your Brain and Body During a Digital Detox
http://www.fastcompany.com/3049138/most-creative-people/what-really-happens-to-your-brain-and-body-during-a-digital-detox#1

Professor Richard Wiseman
Sleep Smart – Avoiding the blues

Sara Thomée et al.
ICT use and mental health in young adults: Effects of computer and mobile phone use on stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression
https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/28245?locale=sv

Gloria Mark, Stephen Voida and Armand Cardello
“A Pace Not Dictated by Electrons”: An Empirical Study of Work Without Email
http://www.ics.uci.edu/~gmark/Home_page/Research_files/CHI%202012.pdf

Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth W. Dunn
Checking email less frequently reduces stress
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214005810

Morten Tromholt et al.
‘The Facebook Experiment: Does social media affect the quality of our lives?’
http://www.happinessresearchinstitute.com

Infographic created by Happify
Happiness in the Digital Age
http://www.happify.com/hd/happiness-and-technology-infographic/?srid=hfp

Dr Paul Howard-Jones
The Impact of Digital Technology on Human Wellbeing: Evidence from the Sciences of Mind and Brain
http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/knowledge-centre/articles/impact-digital-technologies-human-wellbeing

Acacia C. Parks et al.
Pursuing Happiness in Everyday Life: The Characteristics and Behaviors of Online Happiness Seekers
http://sonjalyubomirsky.com/wp-content/themes/sonjalyubomirsky/papers/PDPZL2012.pdf