How many devices do you have in your home? Does it sometimes feel like you spend your life online, especially given the recent pandemic changes?
While you need to do your job, which may require computer work, excess staring at your device can adversely affect your health. Here are eight negative effects of too much screen time that might convince you to unplug and take a walk.
Do you notice that your head pain always tends to strike in the afternoon? Employ your best mindfulness practices and pay attention next time you have a day off. If you don’t feel your temples start pounding, the problem might be a negative effect of too much screen time.
Those with neurological diseases like migraines have a lower threshold for bright light, and the stuff emitted from screens can become excruciating. The pandemic hasn’t helped matters. According to the National Headache Foundation, 64% of respondents to a recent survey reported an increase in headaches and dizziness during the recent shutdowns, which correlated with an increase in screen time.
One potential cause of increased head pain from excess screen time comes from the eyes. Fortunately, you cannot go blind from spending too much time at the computer. However, your peepers can grow mighty dry and fatigued.
Fortunately, you can take measures to mitigate strain. Find the twilight mode on your device and activate it. This action cuts the blue-light wavelength that can cause adverse health effects. It also helps to practice the 20-20-20 technique — every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Before the recent pandemic began, one of the biggest health mysteries was the appearance of bone spurs at the back of the neck. Australian researchers theorized that this adaptation arose from excessive leaning forward to look at cellphone screens.
However, other researchers cast aspersions on the idea that technology use can cause bone spurs. Tech neck, though, is a real phenomenon. Holding your head at an unnatural angle can strain muscle and connective tissues, contributing to headaches and pain. Whether or not you grow horns remains a matter of academic debate.
Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide — could your job be putting you at risk? If you sit in the same position as you go about your duties, it might. Repetitive strain can cause adhesions to form in muscle tissue and cause your spine to curve over time.
You can mitigate the impact of excess sitting on your spine by moving more. Consider investing in a variable-height desk that lets you segue to standing during the workday. Another option is an inflatable exercise ball — you can lean back and stretch your lumbar region throughout the day.
If you found yourself turning to the bottle more often during the recent shutdowns, you aren’t alone. Pandemic stress might not be the only problem.
Research published in the Journal of Adolescence indicates that teens can become desensitized and exhibit blunted responses from too much screen exposure. This anhedonia can lead them to seek excitement in unhealthy ways, such as substance abuse.
If you are one of the many who feels like they have done nothing but work for the past several months, you could be at risk, too. Pay attention if you find yourself pouring another glass of wine when you pull the midnight oil.
If you spend excess time on social media, it can seem like everyone is getting more fun out of life than you. No matter how often you remind yourself that people only post their best moments, you could start to feel like you are missing out, making you anxious.
Psychologists call this phenomenon “FOMO” — fear of missing out. It can cause significant stress, the physiological side effects of which can make existing anxiety disorders worse. Your levels of cortisol and adrenaline rise, clouding your judgment.
If you do use social media, set a time limit to keep yourself from wasting hours online. Try taking a holiday — if doing so makes you uncomfortable, consider deleting the apps from your phone and logging in only by computer to control your use.
You open your Facebook page and see nothing but pictures of smiling infants. If you and your mate have been trying to conceive with no luck, all that baby-shower joy can make you feel blue.
The internet is so ubiquitous that advice to stay unplugged for long rings hollow. However, you can use mindfulness techniques while on your device to keep it from depressing your mood. Identify what triggers you. Perhaps you have to turn off the news or cultivate a different social circle online.
If you keep your phone, tablet and computer in your bedroom — on the nightstand, opposite your big-screen TV — you might find it challenging to get your Zzz’s. The blue light emitted from such devices interferes with melatonin production. This hormone helps ease you into sleep, but this negative effect of too much screen time tricks your body into thinking it’s noon at midnight.
Create a charging center in your kitchen or living room and unplug before bed. Read a book while sipping chamomile or practice some gentle yoga to ease yourself into dreamland.
Modern lifestyles can take a toll on your health. Take measures to mitigate these eight negative effects of too much screen time by unplugging today.