Digital Detox: Why You Need One, Beyond Just Proper Sleep – Updated 2019

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 really eye-opening research by Vinaya‘s CEO Kate Unsworth — ironically during our nightly 1 am internet crawl. 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 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 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: How and Where to Achieve Max Levels of Wellness

#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.

Log off at: One Happo in Hakuba, Japan. One of the most impressive ski chalets we’ve ever seen, this residence is sure to help your body relax and realign. Between the 6-person onsen, 4-person sauna, and infrared heating deck, you’re sure to want nothing more than to put down your phones and reconnect with your loved ones. If that’s not enough to get you off your phone – the chalet is 100-metres from the slopes!

#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?

Log off at: Aro-Ha in Queenstown, New Zealand. In the wilderness, off the bank of Lake Wakatipu, embark on an award-winning wellness adventure in this super eco-friendly accommodation. You’ll have plenty of time to engage the body, mind and soul throughout your time here. There is yoga, alpine hiking, kayaking, cooking classes and even horticulture lessons! 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.

Log off at: Baan Hinta in Lamai, Koh Samui, where you’ll feel one with nature. In a quiet area of the island, Baan Hinta is on the beach, tucked into the trees and built into the area’s natural rock formations. It would be difficult to leave here not feeling utterly at peace. 

#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 suppresses melatonin in our bodies, the main hormone that tells our brain it’s time to sleep.

Log off at: Villa Vedas in Tabanan, Bali, where you’ll be amazed by the luxe factor. The villa features 45-metres of beach frontage and a breathtaking 22-metre span with no supporting columns providing an unobstructed view right through the property and out to sea.

#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 significant changes to improve their lives. The choices included career changes, relationships, and health. The lack of exposure allowed them to free their minds, while also affirming that they do in fact have the willpower to do something big.

Log off at: Villa Melissa in Canggu, Bali; considered one of the best beach villas in Canggu. Right on the beach, three of the villa’s five bedrooms offer uninterrupted views of the sea. But if food is more your type of meditation, enjoy Balinese, French, Italian and Japanese cuisine, from the exemplary in-house chef.

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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