Why is too much screen time bad for me?
Too much screen time can have several negative effects on physical and mental health, these can impact you in both the short term, referred to as acute conditions, as well as long-term health implications, known as chronic conditions.
Your eyes in particular are likely to suffer as they’re exposed to high-energy wave blue light, especially true when it’s unfiltered.
This is why it's important to be mindful of the number of hours spent using devices, limit screen time, take breaks, and engage in physical activities to minimise these negative effects.
If you’ve been working from home, running your own business or finding that there's a never-ending list of things to do when it comes to workload then it may be all too easy to find the amount of screen time creeps up.
Some of the main effects of using your devices and screens extensively can include:
- Eye strain and dry eyes: prolonged screen use can cause eye strain and dry eyes.
This is due to reduced blinking, especially troublesome if you’re the type of person that doesn’t like to stop when in the flow of getting stuff done.
- Poor sleep quality: exposure to blue light from screens can interfere with the body's production of melatonin.
Your body needs this to function and sleep effectively, leading to disrupted sleep patterns and a messed up circadian rhythm.
Which in turn, then wreaks havoc across all of your bodily systems and hormones.
- Lack of physical activity: sitting for long periods of time while using screens can lead to a sedentary lifestyle.
Not moving enough increases the risk of health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Alongside tight or weak muscles, that can attribute to, or create a chain of health complaints and imbalances.
- Mental health issues: excessive screen time has been linked to depression, anxiety, and increased stress levels.
This can prevent you from functioning at your optimal levels day to day and take a toll on your long-term wellbeing.
Social media channels have also been acknowledged as causing addictions or issues in some cases, adding to any other psychological problems that may already be brewing.
- Neck and back pain: poor posture and getting into a slump while using screens can lead to neck and back pain, headaches, and discomfort.
This also compounds any problems brought about by lack of exercise and movement.
Since these postural problems can be severely debilitating they’ll not get any better unless you actively do something to counterbalance them.
What happens to our brains when racking up screen time hours?
If you’re using screens on a regular basis then you may be impacted not just by the physical body but also by the mental and emotional components.
As the light emitted is high-energy blue light it has an upregulating effect on our brains, telling us it is daytime when it's the evening or that it's time to be alert and awake when in fact we should be winding down.
It is important for us to limit screen time where possible, take breaks and engage in activities that promote mental and emotional well-being.
This could be as simple as going out for a walk, spending time in nature, carrying out some exercise or unleashing your creative flow with writing, painting and making art.
Connecting with other people in real life and spending more time with friends and loved ones, having a human connection is essential for us.
As much as the modern age of convenience and digitisation comes with its perks it also has a number of considerations with regard to our emotional, mental and spiritual health.
I think we can all agree that we weren’t designed to be sat at a screen all day, every day, however, it's easy to dismiss or overlook the potential pitfalls of doing so.
The main points of which are listed out below:
- Decreased creativity: Spending extended periods in front of screens can reduce time spent engaging in other activities, and also makes us reliant on tech to make our lives easier.
This can stagnate our creative centres and build a reliance on gadgets and apps to do our roles.
Disrupts circadian rhythm: Blue light from screens interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, leading to disrupted sleep patterns and daytime sleepiness.
Attention deficit: Prolonged screen use can reduce the ability to concentrate, focus, and pay attention, leading to symptoms of attention deficit.
Increased stress levels: The constant stimulation from screens and notifications can increase stress levels and create feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
Impairs decision-making: Studies have shown that excessive screen time can impair executive function, including decision-making, problem-solving, and impulse control.
Decreased creativity: Spending extended periods in front of screens can reduce time spent engaging in other activities, including creativity-boosting activities like reading, drawing, or playing an instrument.
In order to be able to deal with any issues in life we must first have an awareness of these, and once that's been acknowledged we’re able to tackle it accordingly.
Luckily for us, there are more than a few people who have encountered problems with too much screen time.
As a result, there are useful apps and systems we can make use of to try and get a handle on such as:
Screen Time (built-in on Apple devices, Google Screen Time (built-in on Android devices, Cold Turkey, Flipd, Forest, Freedom, Offtime, RescueTime, StayFocusd.
Ultimately what you do daily will add up to the bigger picture of health and wellness.
Giving these a try will bring your awareness and numbers in alignment, as it can be a case that we don’t fully understand just how much time we spend using our devices.
How much time on average do we use screens and digital devices?
According to studies, the average person spends about 7-9 hours a day using digital devices, such as smartphones, computers, and televisions.
It can be easy to hit these figures without realising it by the time you c combine your overall figures over the course of the day.
This number has increased dramatically in recent years due to the widespread use of technology in both personal and professional settings. The amount of screen time can vary greatly depending on the individual, with some spending much more and some spending much less.
So if blue light is one of the main issues, can’t I just remove this using the blue light settings on my computer & remove this light from my monitor?
The blue light filters on your computer can reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your screen, but they do not completely remove it.
These filters work by adjusting the colour temperature of your screen to a warmer hue, which can reduce the amount of blue light emitted and reduce eye strain.
However, it is important to still use technology such as one of our screen protectors, or blue light-blocking glasses to counter the adverse impact of this light.
As with most thighs in life, we must try to find a way to achieve balance.
To do so means to be more mindful, listen to ourselves and take action on a consistent basis to do so.
Any questions then please do drop us a message back
Leave a comment