Being an adult in today’s world poses many threats to our health. We’re too busy with the work obligations that we forget to spend time on ourselves, which leads to burnout and sometimes depression. Besides, modern lifestyle requires us to spend so much time in front of the screen that it can be straining for eyes, and it’s important to do something about it. Sadly, that’s easier said than done, considering that everything nowadays, from work to entertainment, revolves around being glued to screen.
If you’re looking to limit your screen time or simply learn how it affects your health, here are some helpful information and tips that can help you be healthier:
1. It affects your posture
Being in front of the screen, especially tablets and phones, can cause shoulder and neck pain, which is no surprise, considering that your posture changes if you’re slouching for a prolonged period. Staring at the screen can cause scoliosis, inflammation in wrists, arms and sometimes even serious pain in hands, back, and legs. In case you have to sit in front of the computer, you should make sure you’re safe and protected. Getting a quality chair and a computer desk can greatly reduce health risks, but it’s also important to take frequent breaks and stretch every hour.
2. It changes the way your brain works
Even if you’re an adult, exposing yourself to too much screen time can change the way you process information and causes atrophy to your brain’s grey matter, making it shrink and become smaller. Also, using a screen for too long can impair cognitive functioning making your brain more sensitive to rewards and less sensitive to a loss. Most of the changes occur in the brain’s frontal lobe which is mainly responsible, for determining one’s success in life, including academic and work performance. Now, that doesn’t mean you should entirely avoid using screens, but rather limit your time spent with your screen devices so your brain can get a chance to rest and rewire.
3. It can disturb your sleep quality
Scrolling through your phone or working on your laptop can significantly change the way you sleep. Laptops, phones, and tablets emit blue light that can affect your sleeping pattern. Most of us use screens in bed, and due to blue light, your brain mistakes nighttime for daytime which can cause sleeping disturbances such as sleep deprivation and changes in circadian rhythm. Additionally, using a screen before bed can make your brain more anxious and active, which is the complete opposite of what you need before going to sleep. So, leaving your phone/laptop/tablet in another room can help you fall asleep smoothly, and if you need something to shut off your mind, try reading a book or meditating.
4. It can cause eye strain
Sitting in front of the computer or browsing your phone too often, can cause serious damage to your eyes. While you probably won’t go blind, it’s still important to stress out that you need to protect your eyes at all costs, especially if your work requires you to use the computer at all times. Therefore, taking safety measures and having a comprehensive eye test can keep your eyes healthy in the long run. Also, using an app or software that can adapt the screen color the time of day can greatly improve your usage experience and keep your eyes in healthy condition for a long period.
5. It can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes
Prolonged screen time often requires you to sit, and a sedentary lifestyle can cause various health issues such as diabetes and obesity. If you’re constantly glued to the screen, you’re expected to eat more, without actually paying attention to what you consume and the way you do it. Making healthy dietary choices is necessary, and mindful eating can considerably help you stay fit and be healthier. That’s why it’s important to take breaks and be more physically active, even if it’s only light stretching or taking a quick walk. If you plan to work for the whole day, you should definitely make a schedule beforehand so you’ll be able to take a break whenever you feel too tired or overwhelmed.
6. It can lead to depression and anxiety
Some researchers say that a higher level of screen time can cause mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. If an individual continues to use screens at an alarming rate, it can even cause suicidal thoughts and lead to decreased emotional sensitivity and lower empathy. A lot of people spend their screen time on their social media feeds which can cause them to feel unworthy and irrelevant. Plus, they also take a lot of effort to create perfect profiles on Facebook and Instagram that they forget what it’s like to live the life that’s not connected to social media and showing off. It’s necessary to remember that social media isn’t real life and that getting a lot of likes isn’t going to make you happy.
7. It can disrupt your concentration and planning abilities
Spending too much time in front of the screen can cause you to feel less focused. Since screen time gets you exposed to a lot of information, it’s no surprise that it can also cause you to feel distractive and unfocused. Since most of the people reach out for their phones as soon as they need something to occupy their mind, they also become less aware of their environment which can lead to accidents and injuries. Furthermore, excessive screen time usage can lead to procrastination and lack of organization skills, which is no wonder, considering that it’s easy to become scatterbrained and disorganized when you’re constantly glued to a device that offers instant gratification and so much different content.
You should be cautious when it comes to using screens, even if it’s only watching a TV. Try to make a plan and stick with it, and don’t reach out for your phone as soon as you wake up.
Make sure to go for health checkups at least once a year, and try to incorporate various exercises into your daily routine. Your health is too precious and valuable and you should cherish it and protect it no matter what.