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Electronics can have a tangible, negative effect on our bodies and there's a growing movement to unplug

Severing the connection to our personal communication devices, even for a short period, is necessary to recharge our own batteries. There is a growing movement to unplug, from a day of activity outdoors to family vacations planned purposefully around no WiFi access to guarantee some IRL (in real life) bonding time.

Electronics have a tangible, negative effect on our bodies, says Dr. Hilary Booth, a naturopathic doctor at the Darou Wellness practice in Toronto. “There is a profound impact,” she says. “The pineal gland, found in our brains, works with circadian rhythms, the cycle of light and dark, sleep and awake. It responds to light wavelengths. And all our devices–phones, tablets, electronic readers, TVs–give off blue light, the brightest in the spectrum, identical to daylight. The pineal gland can’t release melatonin in daylight.” And when our sleep patterns are off, our relationships can suffer, too.

When Dr. Booth recommends patients take a full vacation from screens, “I get a lot of resistance and panic,” she says, calling a tech-free week the “gold standard.” “When we do old-fashioned things like play Scrabble with the family, we allow the body to reset. And all the good hormones, like dopamine, which brings feelings of love and joy, help balance out the stress hormones.”