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Why Young Adults Need Time Away From Electronics

Why Young Adults Need Time Away From Electronics

Today, teenagers constantly plug into technology. They’re always playing on smartphones, gaming, and sharing their lives on social media. On average, those between the ages of eight and eighteen spend approximately seven hours a day on screens. Unfortunately, this is a habit that could have a seriously dangerous impact on their health.

While banishing technology completely from a teenager’s life may be impossible and possibly even counterproductive, students, parents, and influential figures alike should be working together to impose guidelines on the amount of exposure young adults get. After all, studies are proving that too much time spent in front of a screen can damage the growth and development of teenagers. From harming sleep patterns to increasing body fat, reducing physical activity, and even promoting the development of depression, anxiety, and stress, electronic screen-time may be as detrimental as it is convenient.

The Impact of Electronics on Sleep and Concentration

According to research, young adults who spend too much time on electronic devices often have more trouble sleeping at night. Studies have found that cumulative screen time affects how long and how well teenagers sleep. The more time young adults spend on electronics, the less sleep they’re likely to get.

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Though scientists are still exploring why screen time impacts sleep, some experts suggest that the light from electronic devices interferes with the human circadian rhythm. What’s more, devices could be responsible for stimulating the nervous system, making it difficult for you to fall asleep.

Sleep deprivation is a dangerous thing in all stages of life; however, it can be particularly detrimental to adolescents whose brains are in the process of developing. Sleep deprivation causes teenagers to perform badly in cognitive tasks and experience less control over their emotions. Sleep supports the brain processes critical to memory, learning, and emotional regulation.

Choosing to Unplug

It’s understandable that young adults navigate more towards the benefits of technology. After all, many career options involve the use of technology. The ability to remain connected to peers can also provide a useful solution for making plans and keeping in touch. However, it’s also important to weigh the risks associated with too much screen time.

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Without the right amount of balance in a young adult’s life, it can be impossible to develop crucial time management skills essential for academic success, or devote enough time to outdoor activities and personal growth. Too much time spent online can lead to concentration and memory problems, reducing a teenager’s ability to make crucial decisions, set goals, and act appropriately around others.

Recent studies suggest that choosing to set aside technology in favor of exploring nature could help boost creative thinking and bypass some of the negative effects associated with excessive screen time. With that in mind, the aim should be to find balance between encouraging technological development and understanding in teenagers, ensuring they have the opportunity to explore other aspects of life.

The Benefits of Time Away From Electronics

The only way to lower the negative impact that excessive electronic exposure can have on teenagers is to promote the benefits of unplugging — even if it’s only for short periods of time each day. An inability to escape technology can lead to “tech stress”, leading to an increased chance of depression and emotional turmoil in young adults.

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Scheduling regular time to unplug from technology is important, as the brain needs recovery time in order to grow and develop. For instance, one study conducted by the University of Michigan found that patients who took a walk after learning something new were more likely to retain the information. In other words, time without technology can help the brain to reboot.

On top of this, scheduling time away from technology can also:

  • Reduce discomfort and pain throughout the body. The issue of “tech neck” is growing prominent, thanks to the strain that texters place on their spine and neck through staring down at a computer monitor or phone screen for too long. Through unplugging, individuals can enjoy better posture, less eye strain, and fewer aches in their muscles.
  • Increase awareness of your surroundings. When unplugging from technology, you’re removing a huge distraction from your world. As such, teenagers will be more likely to notice small details, places, and things they never noticed before.
  • Allow for better sleep quality. As mentioned above, the human circadian rhythm depends on darkness in order to prepare the body for sleep. Banishing light emitting devices can be a huge benefit to the body, allowing for a more complete and restful sleep cycle.
  • Improve mood and memory retention. Even taking the opportunity to unplug for a couple of hours every day is enough to allow the brain to reboot, lift your mood, and improve memory skills. Less technological stimulation gives teenagers the time to focus on activities that grow and develop the brain cells.

Be More Creative and Productive

The constantly connected world that we live in today has made it easier than ever to assume that we need our web browser, email inbox, and social media accounts in order to be productive. However, the truth is that the accumulation could be interrupting a young adult’s life, making it difficult to get things done.

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By powering down every once in awhile, young adults can find new ways to be creative, contributing to the world around them by developing their skills and minds. From getting out into nature, a concept that many cognitive psychologists believe is essential to improving mood, to taking the time to grow new brain cells,  moments taken away from the online world are crucial to the growth of any young adult.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via thumb9.shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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