Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?

Do you own a mobile phone or Smartphone? Of course you do. In fact, you are probably reading this blog on your Smartphone or tablet right now. According to Pew Research Center, nearly 70 percent of people in the U.S. have a Smartphone. Check out the Pew Research Center site here to read more about these statistics.

Some people have become so dependent on their Smartphones, they experience significant distress when they are forced to go without one. This has even led some researchers to give these feelings a name: “nomophobia,” a portmanteau of the phrase “no mobile phone phobia.”

It may sound strange and even a little silly, but studies suggest nomophobia is quite real. Sufferers have been identified based on a variety of criteria, including:

People who experience feelings of genuine panic when they can’t locate their phone

Smartphone owners who never part from their phones, including during sleep and bathroom trips

People who use their phones during meals and other social events

Individuals who pick up their phone first thing in the morning before even stepping out of bed and make it the last thing they check before going to sleep

These individuals are so addicted to their mobile devices, they have difficulty ignoring them – even when they are doing something that demands their full senses, such as driving a motor vehicle or crossing a pedestrian walkway on foot. Walk into any restaurant, and you are likely to see people glancing down at phones rather than interacting with each other. Some wedding photographers have even started asking wedding guests to leave their Smartphones at home.

Still not convinced? Consider the following statistics from a Pew Research survey:

70 percent of people surveyed admit they check their smartphones as soon as they wake up

51 percent say they check their phones constantly even while vacationing

56 percent of survey respondents say they check their phone within one hour of going to sleep at night

Experts also say that, much like any other addiction, excessive Smartphone use breeds more use and, ultimately, abuse. The more time you spend on your phone, the likelier you are to pick it up again and again.

Because mobile devices are handheld and easily transported, Smartphone users have constant access to them, making it fast and easy to get a “fix” any time they want – and the numbers show many people simply can’t help themselves.

“Breaking Up” with Your Phone

If you think you may be too dependent on your Smartphone, it is important to start setting boundaries with yourself when it comes to time spent on the phone. Experts say doing so can have a startling impact on your mental and emotional health.

Researchers also say that changing your habits can help you resist the urge to pick up the phone in the car or during other activities. You can curb your addiction by doing the following:

Set designated “phone times” during which you are allowed to check your phone. This can be once every 30 minutes or some other reasonable increment of time

Silence your phone when it is not in active use

Avoid taking your phone to bed

Turn off your phone completely when you drive; if you are a passenger, consider silencing your phone and waiting until the car has stopped to check it

Try a phone “detox” by avoiding your phone altogether for one day or even over an entire weekend

By spending a little less time with your Smartphone, you may be surprised to discover time for other things in your life. Disconnecting from constant emails and notifications can be a great way to minimize stress and help you focus on important tasks.

Learn more healthy tips, habits, and news with Get Thrive today.

Smartphone Light Messes with Your Slumber

For a while, we’ve heard reports about the disadvantages of lying in bed with your Smartphone. Now, a new study claims that the actual light from your phone may affect how well you sleep.

Getting Tucked In

After a long day, you crawl under the covers, and you hope you’ll sleep through the night, undisturbed, and wake feeing rejuvenated and chipper. Honestly, how often does that happen? For the sake of our good health, a proper, restful night’s sleep (every night, if possible) is imperative.

There are so many variables that can interrupt a sound snooze. Does your partner snore? Do you have young children? Are you under a lot of stress?

Preparing your environment before shutting your eyes for the night is important. That includes:

-feeling comfy in your clothing, if any

-being hydrated

-meditating or taking deep breaths to release the stress of the day

-turning off the TV

-saving the page in your book

-DON’T look at your Smartphone for at least a half an hour before planning to sleep

New Smartphone-Sleep Research

A recent study suggests that the light from Smartphones, especially before bedtime, is associated with how well and how long you sleep. Or, unfortunately, in other words, the light may be associated with how poorly you sleep.

The study included 650 adults over a period of a month. Their Smartphone use was recorded using an app that kept track of all their screen time. Their sleep quality and sleep hours were also recorded.

The lead author of the study reported results, “Those with more screen-time exhibit shorter sleep and reduced sleep quality. Increased screen-time just around bedtime, in particular, was strongly associated with poor-quality sleep.”

Bottom Bunk Line

Our ability to acquire a good night’s sleep is lessened after we’ve been on screens all day. The light from our Smartphone overstimulates the brain and increases the chance that we won’t get solid rest—especially if we’re checking it immediately before slumber time.

So what if I don’t sleep well? Here’s what. You leave yourself open to a weakened immune system. Your brain isn’t half as sharp as it could be. Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and depression have been linked to chronic sleep disturbance.

Chicken or the Egg?

The one thing the researchers couldn’t conclude was the chicken or the egg theory. Which comes first? Did a participant lose sleep because he was his on his phone late, right before bed? Or, did the participant already have insomnia tendencies, thus checking his phone because he couldn’t sleep?

Regardless of the eventual findings through further study, the most important element is that we get enough rest, every night. The quality of our sleep directly affects the quality of our health. In the meanwhile, shut down the screen and replace it with some good ole sheep counting. For other stories about sleep, health, and up-to-date studies, have a gander at www.GetThrive.com

 

 

 

Smartphones: Productivity Killers?

When interrupted at work, how long would you say it takes to return to a state of focused attention?  A moment or two?  10 minutes?  Try 23 minutes and 15 seconds!  If you’re skeptical, Gloria Mark, a professor at UC-Irvine, begs to differ.  Most people will take on additional, unrelated work tasks (like checking their smartphones) before getting back on track.  And before they realize it, where has the time gone?

Pros and Cons

For the many ways smartphones are designed to make life more convenient, new studies illuminate the downside to the devices.  In fact, the very ability to quickly switch back and forth between various tasks negatively affects productivity.

One can hardly make their way through a job interview these days without being asked about multitasking.  It seems employers want people who can balance a variety of responsibilities at any given time.  The problem, however, lies with our inability to focus on a given task and devote the necessary energies to quality output.  According to Daniel Levitin, professor of behavioral neuroscience at McGill University, “(t)hat switching comes with a biological cost that ends up making us feel tired much more quickly than if we sustain attention on one thing.”

What’s more, the added techniques required to power through demanding stretches of work often come at a cost.  When we use, say, caffeine, to boost energy, the brain does not react positively.  As a substitute for rest, caffeine, or any other synthetic tactic just falls short.

The Up Side

Interestingly, taking 15-minute breaks every couple of hours leads to more productive work.  And it’s in how these breaks are made that maximum impact is achieved.  Surfing one’s various social media accounts yields less positive results than, say, taking a walk, reading, daydreaming, etc.  These activities, even in brief quarter hour spurts, are sustained and have a way of transporting the mind to a different, more restful place.

Now, there are certain activities where multitasking is okay.  Whenever you are doing something that doesn’t require active concentration (laundry for example), then reading a book or talking on the phone has virtually no undesirable consequences.

Whatever your profession, understanding how the mind works can be a valuable tool in being your very best.  The more distractions are eliminated, the greater the chance for productive and quality work to be the result.  Set aside some time and reflect on how your work practices impact your workday.  If you find that avoidable interruptions have taken over, set some boundaries and make the change!