Once upon a time, Americans were known for their love affair with their cars. We romanticized about the freedom of the open road and – from "Little Deuce Coup" to "Pink Cadillac" – even wrote songs about them.

Statistics show, however, that the total miles Americans drive peaked more than six years ago and is gradually falling.

So what's our current infatuation?

Is there even a need to ask?

It's our phones. We give them names. We dress them up. We're constantly checking e-mail and the social media du jour on them. We panic when they're not in sight. And we even sleep with them.

According to a recent Pew Research Report, in the past year, Americans reached a mobile milestone: the majority of Americans now own a smartphone of some kind. Specifically:

  • 91% of Americans own a cell phone
  • 56% of Americans own a smartphone, up from 46% in 2012, and 35% in 2011

Research also shows that we are more attached to these devices than ever before:

  • 67% of cell owners check their phones even when they don't notice their phone ringing
  • 44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed
  • 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as "something they can't imagine living without"

Given how easy and entertaining phones are to use, though – and how dependent we have become on them to stay connected 24-7 – it is easy to use them continuously and miss out on time with people around us.

This infographic from the Huffington Post offers a few thoughts about how to disconnect from the electronic world for a bit and the benefits of taking a break.

For example, not having a phone or other kind of screen on and active while sleeping (i.e. falling asleep with Netflix playing in the background) means that your eyes can rest more easily without the extra light in the room. The benefit? You get a better night's sleep.

Give it try.

After all, with all due respect to Alexander Graham Bell, can you hum a single tune about a phone?

How do you unplug?

Image by Dave Lawler

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