Digital Detox: Why You Need One, Beyond Just Proper Sleep

Constantly refreshing your inbox doesn’t make you a better employee, spamming likes on Instagram doesn’t actually change anything, and let’s be honest, sometimes we read things on Facebook and wonder why we’re still on it.

You don’t need to keep up with the world, but you do need to keep up with your own body, mind, and sanity.

We stumbled upon a really eye-opening research by Vinaya‘s CEO Kate Unsworth — ironically during our nightly 1 am internet crawl. In creating tech-infused, notification-enabled jewellery that’s meant to minimise how often you check your gadgets, Unsworth conducted a social experiment on a group of 35 other CEOs, entrepreneurs and influencers, on a trip to a Morocco where they were stripped of technology.

Over the course of four days, neuroscientists observed the way the group interacted with each other. This is how they proved that a digital detox is far more than just a time-out — along with our own top picks for getaways where you wouldn’t mind turning all gadgets off, because willingly keeping technology away is easier said than done:

Read also: Off-the-Grid Places to Hide at After a Social Media Scandal

#1 Does Your Back Pain Never Go Away?

Three days in, the group’s relationships with one another deepened. When they were able to look into each other’s eyes without mobile distractions (aren’t we all guilty of constantly peering down at our phones?), their bodies responded. Their shoulders were pushed back, and the backs of their heads realigned with the spine.

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Log off at: ChivaSom International Health Resort in Hua Hin, Thailand — it’s where the Beckhams vacation. Give your back some extra TLC with a good Thai massage, which comes part and parcel of the resort’s all-inclusive package.

#2 Less Google, More Laughs 

We barely remember a time without Google, or someone lazily suggesting to “Google that” whenever anyone had a question. Take that privilege away and you’re left with an opportunity to ponder and converse over a question by sharing stories and ideas. With the group, they even developed their own inside jokes, and who doesn’t love an inside joke?

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Log off at: Java House in Ubud, Bali. There’s an estate temple just beneath the sacred banyan tree, and a floating deck for dining with views of the temple, river and jungle. It’s hard not to feel at peace when you’re cloaked in a quiet enclave.

#3 What It’s Like to Remember Details 

Without Facebook reminding you of events and memories, the group was able to remember more, even personal, details about one another. The neuroscientists believe that their memories improved when they became more present in conversations, which gave their brains a proper chance at processing and storing new information.

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Log off at: The Luang Say Residence in Luang Prabang, Laos, where you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back into the golden age of Laos. The French colonial style villas are situated within easy reach of the temples and stupas of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

#4 And of Course, Feeling Awake in the Morning

Even without hibernating for hours and hours, the guests said they felt even more rested and rejuvenated. That’s because when we’re in bed using our phones (a bedtime ritual), the blue light from screens suppress melatonin in our bodies, the main hormone that tells our brain it’s time to sleep.

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Log off at: Amankora in Paro, Bhutan, where you’ll be surprised at the luxe factor — each lodge has its own spa! But don’t let the glitz and glam get in the way of your spiritual pilgrimage to temples and monasteries, not even your own chef and horse and your porter.

#5 You’ll Finally Know What You Truly Want 

How often do we lament on not knowing what we want? The group found that without the distractions — we’re chalking this up to expectations presented by social media vs reality — they were able to decide on big changes to improve their lives, choices that included career, relationships, and health. The lack of exposure allowed them to free their minds, while also affirming that they do in fact the willpower to do something big next.

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Log off at: The Nam Hai Premiere Luxury Resort & Villa in Hoi An, Vietnam; a destination also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Right on the pristine Ha My beach, each villa offers uninterrupted views of the sea. But if alcohol is more your type of meditation, have a few drinks at The Bar, on the lantern-illuminated balcony facing the East Sea.

So when was the last time you switched off?

Sun, sand, sea and villas

Photo credit: Main

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Diandra Soliano

Our resident Wander Woman with a passion for languages, big cities and bronzer. When she's not listening to The Smiths a little too loudly at the office (after hours!), she can be found singing along to the soundtrack of Les Miserables with her two cats for an audience.

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