These days, taking care of your health comprises of many things. Among them is the need to take time off your screen.
Picture this; Upon waking up, you quickly take your phone with so much hunger it is almost as if there is something you missed while you were asleep. In between responding to WhatsApp messages, text messages there are also emails to attend to. While at it a message pops up on your screen. It is a Facebook notification. Do you also want to have a look at that? The workday hasn’t even begun.
A lot of jobs today involve spending more than five hours straight staring into a screen. Now I am not going to lecture you about avoiding screen time but rather how it can affect you negatively if not managed properly.
According to research the following are the effects of too much screen time:
Poor quality sleep
Using bright devices before going to sleep can have a negative effect on your body leading to fatigue not to mention those awkward positions one has to constantly shift to just to rest comfortably with your device in your palm.
You risk straining your eyes
Blue light from the screen does not just keep you awake it may also damage the retina. A report by CBS had some recommendations including the 20-20-20 rule; after 20 minutes of staring at a screen, look at an object 6m away for at least 20 seconds. If your device does not have the anti-glare feature make a point of dimming the brightness or if you can afford it get lenses with anti-glare specs.
Arrgggg I do not like to be the bearer of bad news. But it is what it is. For decades studies have indicated that significant time spent on a screen leads to lower cardiovascular health and increases mortality risk. The biggest disclaimer is that exercising more does not seem to offset it. A 2011 study of 4500 adults showed too much screen time raised your likelihood of death by up to 52% while regular exercising only lowered that by 4%. This clearly shows that there is something about a lot of screen time that seems to make our bodies work less.
According to Psychology Today, excessive screen usage seems to restructure the matter (the brain consists of white and grey matter) that makes up the brain. This seems to particularly affect adults where problems with white matter hamper their ability to communicate, poor cognitive performance and developing a lot more cravings.
Chronic neck and back pain
Poor posture when using screens can cause chronic neck, shoulder and back pain. It is therefore advisable to have chairs and desks suitable for working on the computer but if you cannot afford that then doing regular stretches in between should suffice. Taking frequent breaks also works just fine.
Inability to process emotions
Lack of frequent face to face interactions in favor of social media may impact on your ability to process emotions properly.
So put your gadget down and go on a leisure walk every so often you will get some important vitamin D along the way and give your body the break it desperately needs.