A Simple Digital Detox to Recharge & Sleep Better
Always “on”? Here’s why it’s important to disconnect sometimes — and how to do it.
The deluge of data in the information age can be hard to keep up with, including emails, your kid’s school assignments, and your social media feeds.
The answer may lie with digitally detoxing, even for short bursts, so you can reset when you need it most.
Elenna Mosoff, a certified life and leadership coach who is a digital addictions expert, believes taking simple breaks from the digital world can clear the mental cobwebs and give you the time and space to better care of yourself, your relationships and yes, even sleep better.
How We Relate
In Mosoff’s professional opinion, being digitally tethered all of the time is fundamentally shifting the way we relate to one another and the world.
“Humans aren’t wired to be so wired,” she says.
The constant checking of emails, social media, apps, and websites “fractures our attention and that stresses us out, creates anxiety, confusion — and, yes, of course, sometimes a hit of fun and feeling good,” she says.
What’s hard, according to Mosoff, is that the continuous splitting of ourselves doesn’t allow people to go deep, to settle in, to be in the world, to grow, to know themselves beyond the splitting or the version of ourselves we’ve constructed.
Taking digital breaks allow you to control your life.
“The most valuable thing we have in life is our attention. What we pay attention to is a bigger decision about how we want to spend our lives,” she says.
How to Do a Digital Detox
Ideally, you’ll have more energy when you take a break. You’ll recognize that your attention is yours and nothing is competing for your time. Go offline, even for short bursts, suggests Mosoff, in order to allow your system to restore and relationships to flourish. A break shows those you love that they’re important and worth your time and effort. “It lets you like yourself, which I think is one of the big things being online allows us to avoid working on. Because we tend to seek a lot of external validation.”A digital detox is a predetermined amount of time when your phone remains off and out of sight, Mosoff says.
A mini digital detox might consist of an activity without your phone, like a walk in the park, reading a good book in bed, or FaceTiming a friend. Some take it a step further. “Many people have adopted the idea of a digital Sabbath, where they turn off their phones from sundown on Friday until either Saturday night or Sunday morning on a weekly basis,” she says. “This gives them a sense of freedom and many find they don’t miss being without it.”
Better Quality Sleep
As for sleeping better, a few hours before you go to bed your brain produces a hormone called melatonin which tells your body it’s time to get sleepy, says Mosoff. Smart devices produce blue light, which wakes up the body and stops melatonin production. The bright screens on your smart phone and TV trick you into thinking it’s still daytime. But if you can avoid screens or switch your phone to night mode in the evening, then you’ll be better prepared to fall asleep. Instead of looking at your phone to tell time, Mosoff suggests buying an alarm clock.
A calming bedtime routine can help you boost your mental state so you have an easier time falling and staying asleep. The Sleep30® Challenge by Sleep Number is a free 30-day sleep wellness program, and 82% of participants improve their sleep quality and 74% improve or change bad sleep habits. Participants credit a better bedtime routine learned from the program as a huge reason for helping them sleep better. A bedtime routine isn’t just for little kids. Adults and kids both benefit from helping their bodies unwind before bedtime.
And, make sure whatever sleep you’re getting is the best quality sleep it can be. Have a comfortable mattress that can adjust to you. Science shows us that loss of sleep or poor sleep could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to colds and other illnesses. Quality sleep is a natural immune booster, helping our focus, mood and ability to manage stress. Compared to average sleepers, Sleep Number® bed owners enjoy almost an hour’s more sleep per night.*
Healthy Snack to Munch While Detoxing
Try to avoid caffeine after noon so you don’t interrupt your sleep that night (read more about this here).
If you’re taking a mini digital detox, and going for that suggested walk, hike, bike ride or run without a smart device, carry a few of these post-workout power balls with you. They’re as good for the body as they are for the soul.
Chai Spiced Dried Fruit and Nut Power Balls
Makes: 20 pieces
This isn’t a very sweet treat — the only sugar comes from fruit and nuts. If you’d prefer this a little sweeter, add 2 tbsp raw honey and mix before rolling into balls and refrigerating.
- ¾ cup crunchy peanut butter
- ¾ cup coconut, desiccated, unsweetened, plus extra for rolling your completed power balls
- ¼ cup dried tart cherries, chopped
- ¼ cup pitted prunes, chopped
- ½ cup almonds, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup candied citrus peel, chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger powder (or less if you want a subtler kick)
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 1 tsp chai masala spice blend
- In a medium-sized bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until well combined.
- If you find your mixture very soft, chill in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Roll into balls about the size of a walnut.
- Place remaining coconut on a plate. Roll balls in coconut to garnish.
- Store in resealable container in the refrigerator or the freezer if you won’t be consuming them immediately. They’ll last for about a week in the fridge or a month in the freezer if well wrapped.
Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal health and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.
*Based on self-reported hours of sleep from a general population survey compared to our SleepIQ® data.