Using smartphone for an hour less a day makes you less anxious and more satisfied, study says

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Cutting your smartphone use by just one HOUR a day makes you less anxious, more satisfied with life and more likely to exercise, study finds

  • Life satisfaction increased when people used their smartphone less, study found
  • German scientists said people were also less anxious and more likely to exercise
  • Their study involved 200 people putting their smartphone to one side for a week
  • Another 226 reduced the amount of time they used the device by one hour a day 

Cutting your smartphone use by just an hour a day makes you less anxious, more satisfied with life and more likely to exercise, a study has found.

Researchers said it was ‘not necessary to completely give up the smartphone to feel better’, but they discovered that reducing its daily use had positive effects on a person’s well-being.

Previous studies have shown that smartphone use is linked to obesity, neck pain, impaired performance, and addiction-like behaviour, so experts at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany set out to establish just how much is too much.

Dr Julia Brailovskaia and her team wanted to determine whether our lives are actually better without smartphones, or rather, how much less use per day is good for us and whether there is a ‘sweet spot’. 

Cutting your smartphone use by just an hour a day makes you less anxious, more satisfied with life and more likely to exercise, a study has found (stock image)

Cutting your smartphone use by just an hour a day makes you less anxious, more satisfied with life and more likely to exercise, a study has found (stock image)

The researchers recruited 619 people for their study and divided them into three groups. 

At total of 200 people put their smartphone to one side for the week, 226 reduced the amount of time they used the device by one hour a day, and 193 didn’t change anything in their behaviour.  

‘We found that both completely giving up the smartphone and reducing its daily use by one hour had positive effects on the lifestyle and well-being of the participants,’ said Dr Brailovskaia.

‘In the group who reduced use, these effects even lasted longer and were thus more stable than in the abstinence group.’

On average, people spend more than three hours a day glued to their smartphone screens. 

We search Google, look for directions, check emails or the weather, shop, read the news, watch films and hang out on social media.

But Dr Brailovskaia said this was ‘both a blessing and a curse’. 

Researchers said it was 'not necessary to completely give up the smartphone to feel better', but they discovered that reducing its daily use had positive effects on a person's well-being

Researchers said it was ‘not necessary to completely give up the smartphone to feel better’, but they discovered that reducing its daily use had positive effects on a person’s well-being 

The researchers interviewed all participants about their lifestyle habits and well-being immediately after the intervention, one month and four months later.

They asked how much they engaged in physical activity, how many cigarettes they smoked a day, how satisfied a person was with their life and if they show any signs of anxiety or depression.

The one-week intervention changed the participants’ usage habits in the long term: even four months after the end of the experiment, the members of the abstinence group used their smartphone on average 38 minutes less per day than before. 

The group who had spent one hour less per day with the smartphone during the experiment used it as much as 45 minutes less per day after four months than before. 

At the same time, life satisfaction and time spent being physically active increased, while symptoms of depression and anxiety – as well as nicotine consumption – decreased. 

‘It’s not necessary to completely give up the smartphone to feel better,’ said Dr Brailovskaia. ‘There may be an optimal daily usage time.’

The study has been published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

TIME TO PUT DOWN THE PHONE? PEOPLE ‘SPEND NEARLY A THIRD OF THEIR WAKING HOURS ON MOBILES’

People spent a staggering 4.8 hours a day, or nearly a third of their waking hours, on their mobiles last year, research has shown.

App Annie’s ‘State of Mobile’ report found that consumers globally spent a record 3.8 trillion hours on mobiles in 2021. 

In the UK, the average amount of time spent on phones per day in 2021 was four hours, less than the global average of 4.8 hours for the year.

In the UK, the average amount time spent on mobile per day in 2021 was four hours, less than the global average of 4.8 hours for the year

In the UK, the average amount time spent on mobile per day in 2021 was four hours, less than the global average of 4.8 hours for the year

But UK mobile use has increased from three hours per day in 2019 and 3.7 hours per day in 2020.  

Overall, 2021 was ‘record-breaking’ as consumers continue to embrace a mobile lifestyle and move away from big screens, the firm said.  

In particular, the use of Chinese video sharing app TikTok saw an increase of 90 per cent globally excluding China, compared to 2020.  

Mobile is the greatest of all time and the go-to device of the future,’ said Theodore Krantz, CEO of App Annie.

‘The big screen is slowly dying as mobile continues to break records in virtually every category – time spent, downloads and revenue.’  

Company and app rankings reported in App Annie’s ‘State of Mobile 2022’ report are based on various download, consumer spend and usage estimates gained from its market insights.

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