Most of us are surrounded by technology at every turn. In fact, many studies have shown that some people literally don’t know what to do without their smartphones. It is as though our smartphones have become an extension of our brains. The benefits of technology are obvious, but too much of anything can be a problem.
Technology is interfering with many of our lives. It has crept in, and now most of us feel as though we couldn’t live without it. No one should ever feel that way. Let’s take a look at an idea that is really catching on, Amish hour.
What is Amish Hour?
As the name indicates Amish Hour is a tribute and reference to the Amish. The Amish don’t use digital technology in any form, and this has its advantages. While we all fixate on the real and tremendous benefits of digital technology, we often forget that this technology, when overused, can cause physical, mental and even emotional problems. Taking a page out of the Amish playbook in the form of the Amish Hour is increasingly looking like a very good idea.
Amish Hour is about saying goodbye to your technology for one hour a day. And, yes, that does mean all technology. In order to really get the benefits that this habit has to offer, you need to put down the computer, the smartphone, the tablet, your television and every other gadget in your home. If it is more technologically sophisticated than a light bulb or blender, then you should leave it where it is.
The Benefits of Disconnecting
Amish Hour is about disconnecting for the digital world that now engulfs most of us. Do you sleep with your phone next to your bed? This is becoming an increasingly common behavior and it isn’t a healthy one. Being plugged into technology, social media, the 24-hour news cycle, emails, texting, instant messaging and all the rest around the clock isn’t healthy. Instead it ultimately causes your stress levels to rise.
Incorporating Amish hour into your daily routine will help you unwind and may even lead to greater productivity and health. The benefits of Amish Hour are actually quite profound. For example, are you having trouble sleeping at night? A key reason for this may be that you have your brain “on” all day long. Constantly checking digital devices keeps the brain in a perpetual state of alertness and that isn’t good for your mind or your body.
Meditation works in reducing stress hormone levels and increasing brain function because the brain needs to take a break. While you may not meditate during your Amish Hour, your brain will certainly benefit from simply getting a break from the daily digital onslaught. Answering a few “quick emails” or checking social media posts will not help you get ready for a good night of sleep. Even more importantly Amish Hour may help you get more sleep as it may reduce your insomnia levels.
Recent studies point to the fact that the blue light emitted from computer screens, smartphones, tablet computers and other digital devices is interfering with sleep. The blue light is disrupting our natural sleep rhythms. Exacerbating this problem is the fact these devices are checked at night. Yet another issue related to digital devices, sleep and performance is the fact that people are sleeping with their smartphones next to their beds. If your smartphone is nearby, you are much more likely to check it before going to sleep, or at least trying to go to sleep. Amish Hour is a way for you to decouple from the digital world and get the rest that your mind and body needs.
Better sleep translates to better mental performance. Also, better sleep works to reduce stress hormone levels such as cortisol. Stress hormones trigger inflammation and that means more aches and pains and longer injury recovery times. If you’ve ever noticed that a restful night of sleep helps injuries heal, you are not alone.
Reverting to Habits of Previous Generations
While we now take artificial lighting as part of life, this was not the case for the vast majority of our evolution and the history of society. Just a few generations ago, indoor lighting was in the form of a candle. Usually when the sun set, people started gearing down for sleep and rose again when the sun rose.
We were tied to the sun, but today we find that we are tied to our digital devices often far into the night. The combination of digital devices and artificial lighting is decidedly unhealthy and unnatural. Amish Hour can help you reduce the impact of life in the digital age.
Finding New Activities to Help You Unwind
Keep in mind that there are plenty of things you can do during your Amish Hour. Whether it is reading a book, meditating, playing with your children, working on a hobby or even paying bills, almost anything is better than being glued to digital devices right before bed. You can even consider taking a short walk or sitting outside on the porch to get some fresh air.
Better, more restful and more restorative sleep can be yours. But you’ll have to give up your digital devices, well, just for an hour.