I don't know about you, but my smartphone sometimes seems like Grand Central Station at rush hour. Between texts, emails, regular old phone calls, and notifications from multiple social media sites, keeping up with all the inputs can feel like a full-time job. In fact, I can't remember the last time I passed a full 12 hours without checking my phone at least once. You'd think just turning off the gizmo would solve this (admittedly first world) problem, but going without technology can feel like cutting off a limb for young adults who've been "plugged in" since middle school.

Scheduling regular "rest time" in the form of unplugging makes sense -- like a muscle, the brain needs recovery time in order to develop and grow (and in this case, retain new memories). In fact, shutting off completely may be crucial: One University of Michigan study found that participants who walked in the woods after learning something new were more likely to retain it, suggesting that a little quiet time is essential to optimizing brain function. 7 Even brief activities such as taking a short walk (sans phone, of course), spending time in nature, or daydreaming can help the brain reboot. But without free time (i.e. totally unstructured and without Facebook, idle web surfing, or TV), it's impossible to fully learn new skills and keep the brain at its cognitive best.

Read the full article "Why Everyone Should Unplug More Often" at The Huffington Post.