Using your iPhone at lunch leaves you exhausted in the afternoon

Helen Cahill
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Smartphones are distracting but don't revitalise us (Source: Getty)

Addicted to Twitter? Can't wait to check Facebook when you head out for a sandwich break? These might seem like harmless distractions, but scientists have found our lunchtime smartphone habits are putting us in a bad mood when we return to our desks in the afternoon.

A new study in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour has looked at whether taking a break with your iPhone is better than leaving it in your bag and taking a walk or talking to some colleagues.

Researchers Hongjai Rhee and Sudong Kim asked 450 workers from various organisations in South Korea to fill in a survey at the end of the day and say whether or not they had used a smartphone during their lunch break.

The pair found although phone users become as mentally detached from work as anyone else – the internet is, after all, mankind’s most powerful distraction – they experience more emotional exhaustion during the afternoon.

The scientists suggested social media surfing or playing games online is just not as revitalising as more traditional breaks, and that we need to put our phones away if we want to be able to tackle the stresses of an afternoon in the office.

Rhee and Kim added people may feel worse if they spend their lunchtime with technology because users can experience neck pain and dry eyes.

So, however distracting your phone is – it’s not really giving you the boost you need.

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