Our smartphones have exponentially improved how we communicate, learn, and live in the digital age. Electronic devices and apps make us readily available 24/7 as we are constantly plugged in but plugged out of reality. Excessive smartphone use, however, can lead to a big disconnect in our health, work life, and intimate relationships.

In the U.S, more than half of Americans own a smartphone, with most using their phones to send or receive texts, access the Internet, and send or receive emails. Americans have become so attached to their mobile devices, they are willing to skip sex than give up their phones, televisions, or Internet connections. According to a poll taken by market research firm Harris Interactive, 26 percent of people say they could not live without their phones. Indeed, we spend an average 162 minutes on our cell phones per day, mostly with apps and browsing the Internet, according to a survey conducted by mobile measurement and advertising platform Flurry.

As a result of our inability to detach ourselves, mobile devices have even altered human physiology: Our brains have become rewired. So it’s time we consider powering down our small multi-functional device and powering up our lives by evaluating the ways it’s causing a “technoference.”

1. Diminishes Cognitive Ability

Using our cell phones can steal away our attention from people and our surroundings. Even worse, the mere presence of our phones can diminish our attention span and cognitive ability, even without using it, according to a 2014 study published in the journal Social Psychology. It is the constant connectivity throughout the day that provides a continual source of interruptions and distractions even when we’re not on our phones. It makes us more inclined to hear conversations, weaken the ability to connect with other people, especially if something meaningful is being discussed.

2. Decreases Memory Performance

Multi-functional phone models with built-in cameras are ideal for capturing some of life’s best moments, but the overuse of the camera could actually affect our ability to remember these moments. A 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science suggests while taking pictures of works of art, archeological finds, historical artifacts, and other eye-grabbing objects at a museum may be a good way to preserve the moment, it can lead to having worse memory for objects and specific object details. This effect is due to our reliance on technology to remember the object for us, and therefore, not needing to observe it fully for ourselves.

However, using a certain feature on your camera phone can help your memory. A follow-up study found taking a photo of a specific detail on the object by using the zoom button actually seemed to preserve memory for the entire object, not just the part that was zoomed in. This suggests the camera’s eye and our eye are not created equal.

3. Increases Paranoia

Most of us have at least once thought we felt or heard our phone vibrate when it actually hadn’t. This is known as phantom vibration syndrome, or more commonly “ringxiety.” Our reliance on smartphones for mood regulation and maintaining our relationships has increased our anxiety and overall paranoia.

A 2012 study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior found this psychological phenomenon affects one of the heaviest smartphone users — undergrads. Eighty-nine percent of 290 undergrads reported experiencing ringxiety about once every two weeks, on average. People who have strong reactions or an emotional dependence to text messages are more likely to be bothered by these phantom vibrations.

4. Lowers Productivity

The easy accessibility to get work done on our smartphones has actually made us less productive. Working extra hours at night on our phones after 9 p.m. can lead to poor sleep and a drop in energy the next day at the office, according to a 2014 study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. This is due to the blue light emitted by our phones that can actually inhibit melatonin production — the chemical in our bodies that promotes sleep.

Dr. Kevin Barrett, a licensed psychotherapist in Chicago, Ill., told Medical Daily in an email: “Some people are in a cycle where they use their smartphone in bed, keeping the body from secreting melatonin. The person usually does not make that connection and may then buy over-the-counter melatonin supplements to help them fall asleep.” He suggests before reaching for supplements or medications, try putting away our phones two hours before bed. However, if this is not possible, Barrett recommends using the app F.lux (iPhone) or Bluelight Filter (Android), which reduce the blue light output of our screens.

5. Increases Waistline

Game, movie, and social media apps on our phones all lead to an increase in sedentary behavior and expand our waistlines. A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found high levels of cell phone use lead to traditional sedentary behaviors, disrupted physical activity, and reduce cardiorespiratory fitness. Spending as much as 14 hours a day on our phones can lead to poor fitness levels, whereas unsurprisingly, limiting phone use to just 90 minutes a day is associated with a better physique.

6. Increases Physical Injury

The risks of “driving and texting” are widely known and taken very seriously by both smartphone users and authority figures. However, a lesser talked about dilemma with smartphones is “walking and texting.” Walking on the street while texting can actually do as much harm as driving and texting and lead to an emergency room visit. A 2013 study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention found pedestrian cellphone-related incidents in 2010 more than doubled since 2005, and could double again in 2015. ER data showed these injuries ranged from falling off walkways or bridges to walking in front of oncoming traffic.

7. Reduces Sex Drive

Higher cellphone use could mean lower sex drive for women. The Internet, specifically email and smartphones, are seen as the main culprits for a lower libido for 25 percent of women, according to a survey by Bayer, a pharmaceutical company. Two-thirds of the women admitted their partners do not make enough effort in the bedroom to initiate sex. This is closely tied to the increase in couples checking their smartphones in bed at various hours of the night. Constantly scanning our smartphones for updates on social media cites can distance us even more from our significant others.

Keeping cellphone use to a minimum and powering down two hours before bed can help create a healthy balance between the virtual world and reality.