Smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, and even watches are everywhere. People spend an average of seven hours and twenty-two minutes on screens each day, not including computer time for office work. Studies show that too much screen time can significantly affect your health.
About 60 million adults in the United States are at high risk of vision loss. The economic impact of vision loss or eye problems in the United States is over $145 billion per year. Young individuals are at higher risk because it is a critical time in brain development.
As much as teenagers enjoy texting and watching videos, it is crucial to create habits and find ways to break from screen time. Too much screen time can lead to a wide range of complications, such as:
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Excessive screen time is the leading cause of disrupted sleep. You may stay up for a long time because you are involved with your device. The blue light from your smartphone or computer screen reduces melatonin levels in your brain.
It is an essential chemical or hormone that helps your fall asleep faster. Your body releases this hormone at night in response to darkness. Blue light from your screen reduces melatonin production and keeps you awake.
Proper sleep is essential for people of all ages. Getting too little of it can affect your health and weaken your immune system. As a result, your body is prone to getting more diseases due to less effective immunity.
Sleep deprivation also affects your learning ability. You won’t focus and concentrate on your studies or work if you don’t get enough sleep at night. Blue light emitted from your smartphone can also affect your memory. Remember, sleep is the time when your brain stores the information it has collected or learned during the day.
Too moo screen time can affect your mood, causing symptoms of stress, depression and affecting your emotional health. There is enough evidence that too much texting and scrolling social media feeds can increase the risk of depression.
Teenagers are more vulnerable to depression and anxiety due to too much screen time. Some studies show that children who engage in screen time experiences changes in their behavior and mood.
Reduced Cognitive Functions
Too many hours on your computer or smartphone can cause physical changes to your brain’s neuronal networks. The cortex is the outer layer of your brain that processes information. It undergoes development at a young age, and studies highlight that too much screen time can affect its growth.
Children and teenagers who use computers and smartphones more than seven hours a day have a thinner cortex. However, there is a need for more research to confirm this in larger populations. Anyway, excessive screen time can reduce your cognitive function.
Ways to Reduce the Effects of Too Much Screen Time
Many research studies have shown that everything people experience can affect their brain development. The brain undergoes changes from time to time. It is essential to challenges this vital organ in your body in numerous ways to ensure it functions properly. That’s why we recommend taking time away from screens.
The more you try healthy activities like music, sports, exercise, cooking, spending time in nature, the more skilled your central nervous system will become. Screens are an integral part of your life, but not using them properly can take a toll on your life. Experts recommend:
- Using an app to track the screen time to set a limit for it
- Turning off all screens at least 60 minutes before you get to bed
- Scheduling your time to other healthy activities with your screens turned off
- Going outside, spending time in nature, and trying a new hobby
- Performing exercise to naturally boost your brain’s serotonin and melatonin levels
- Keeping a journal of how smartphone usage makes you feel
- Consulting a doctor for help and guidance
Wear Blue Light Glasses
Visible light can pass through your cornea and lens to penetrate retinal cells. Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energies, meaning it can affect your eyes and damage your vision. Some studies show that too much screen time means too much exposure to blue light that can lead to:
Blue light from your smartphone or computer screen can decrease contrast and cause digital eyestrain. Bad lighting, dry eyes, fatigue, irritation, and soreness are common symptoms of digital eyestrain. Wearing blue light glasses can protect your retinal cells from the harmful effects of blue light.
A growing body of research evidence has confirmed that continued exposure to blue light due to excessive screen time can damage retinal cells, leading to vision problems and disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts.
Blue light glasses with yellow-tinted lenses can block shorter wavelengths of blue light, allowing you to use your screens properly without the risk of eye damage. These glasses increase contrast and protect your eyes from digital eye strain.
Improves Circadian Rhythm
There are different brands of blue light glasses. However, not all of them are effective against blue light. Make sure you choose quality blue light glasses with yellow or orange tints to block the harmful blue light range while allowing the beneficial blue light range.
That way, you can use your screen for a prolonged period without damaging your eyes. At the same time, these glasses block blue light, allowing your brain to release an adequate amount of melatonin to streamline and improve your circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle.
Excessive screen time can lead to many problems and health conditions, including eye diseases, sleep disturbances, obesity, chronic neck and back pain, stress, depression, and anxiety. The blue light emitted from your screens can also affect your cognitive function, especially if you are a teenager.
Children must limit screen time to 1-2 hours per day, and adults should make substantial efforts to avoid screens outside of work hours. Another great way to protect your eyes from digital eyestrain and other health conditions is wearing blue light glasses.