Why science says you should turn off your smartphone or table

Does this sound familiar: you´re having lunch with your colleagues, but instead of having an interesting conversation you are all looking at the screen of your mobile to check what important messages you´ve missed from everybody who is not at that table. Do you ever feel like you´ve lost a limb when the battery of your phone goes dead? And is the last thing you see before you go to sleep the off-button of your IPad? Then it might be time to re-think your relationship with your technology. Here are some scientific warnings to consider:

Reading a tablet before sleeping is bad for your biological clock

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Then you might consider reading a book in bed, instead of your iPad. Recent scientific research shows that the bright light of the iPad screen suppresses the melatonin in your body by 22 percent. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you want to sleep.  It´s good news if you need to pull an all-nighter but if you want to rest it´s better to find another activity before hitting the sack.

More online mobility means more work in your free time

A recent study published by the electronics retailer Pixmania claims that employees in the UK work up to two hours extra per day because of their smartphone. It is a problem that many people face. Checking and answering emails after work time became common practice. Therefore the German labor-unions advocate the right of employees to turn off their smartphones and tables as soon as they leave the office. Because according to their research over 64 percent of the employees work in the weekends. 

Always being online makes you less productive

You would think that the upside of always being connected is that we become more productive. But according to Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow this is not the case.  She asked over 16,000 managers and professionals about their working hours and smartphone usage. It turned out almost all of them worked 50 hours or more per week. Most of them checked their phone or another device to answer emails before going to sleep. The professor decided to conduct an experiment with a small team at the The Boston Consulting Group. She asked each of team members to turn off their mobile at least one night per week. On the other hand she encouraged the team to share more with each other during working hours.  The result? The quality work and the productivity of team went up.

Your creativity suffers from internet

It wasn´t for nothing that Archimedes had his Eureka-moment while he was taking a bath. Even if the internet would have existed in 287 B.C., he wouldn´t have come up with his solution in any other way. Research from Harvard University shows that internet is great when you want to gather and share information, but if you want to come up with a creative solution it´s better to do something as simple as taking a shower or go for a walk. It turns out the people who are not connected score 17.5 percent higher in coming up with unique theories.