If you want to reduce your screen time, you’re not alone. Studies show that Americans in their early twenties are now using their phones for 28.5 hours per week. That’s more hours than a part time job requires. And the effects aren’t good.
For kids, too much screen time has been linked to psychological issues such as higher rates of depression and anxiety. An excess of screen time can also result in poor sleep and higher instances of obesity. Not as much research has been done to find out the effects of too much screen time for adults, but we already know it can have damaging consequences, such as digital eye strain, impaired sleep, and a serious drop in mental health. If you’re ready to reduce your screen time, here are five ways to do it.
How to reduce your screen time.
Track your screen time.
Your phone probably comes with a built-in app for tracking time and they can work surprisingly well to quell your screen time – which may not realize is in overdrive.
- Android: Digital Wellbeing. To find it, click on Settings > Digital Wellbeing and parental controls and tap App timers under Your goals. Click the Egg timer icon to the right of each app to add your own timer. You can also tap on Work time or Me time under Focus mode to set up the apps you want to allow yourself to use at a given time. For instance, only Gmail and Microsoft Teams when you’re trying to get work done (Work Time). Or choose the length of time your Work Time will last.
- iPhone: For iPhones and iPads, you’ll find the screen time tracker by going to Settings > Screen time. Set time limits for all your apps and also schedule Downtime. Last, you can choose which apps to allow yourself at all times.
Remember the 30/60 rule.
For those of us at a computer for the workday, it’s important to give your eyes, and your body, a break. Set a timer so you look away from your computer (or other screen) every 30 minutes. This helps avoid eye strain. Also, get up at least once an hour. Researchers at the University of Michigan say sitting for long periods of time is bad for your health. Your body is meant to move, so at a minimum try to move three minutes every hour. Once you do you’ll notice a change: more energy.
Make meals screen-free.
Reduce screen time by creating a natural no-screen rule when you eat. Keep mealtimes separate and enjoy your food at a table or other location without screens. Not only will your eyes (and brain) have a break, but we often eat more when watching a show or playing games. This will help you eat more consciously.
Keep your phone out of your bedroom.
If you’ve ever accidentally stayed up late scrolling social media, this one’s especially for you. Sleep deprivation can create problems in your gut and even create carb cravings. Avoid the whole trap of scrolling when you should be sleeping by making your bedroom a screen-free zone. Make a new rule that your bed is for resting or sleeping, only. Phones give off a glow all night long, which is stimulating. If that’s not possible for the entire evening, give yourself at least one screen-free hour before bedtime.
Stop taking your phone to the bathroom.
Here’s an easy way to reduce your screen time: leave your phone on the counter when you head to the restroom. Remember those magazine holders people used to sit next to the toilet? For your brain, eye and emotional health, this is one smart time to consider going retro.
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