Ways digital screens can harm your body and ruin your sleep

man rubbing his eyes in front of computer screen in dark office

Whether it's an important email, essay, or even a Netflix binge, we've all have those long stretches of staring at a screen. Digital technology has progressed immensely and allowed us to stay connected now more than ever before.

Eyestrain

One of the most common side effects from being glued to the screen for too long is the dreaded eyestrain. Dry eyes, blurred vision, and even headaches.

One way to combat this is using the 20-20-20 rule developed by the American Optometric Association. The rule is simple: after 20 minutes of looking at a screen, look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

This may help your eyes not to feel as strained when you're having prolonged exposure to screen time.

Sleep

Looking at a screen that emits blue light can disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle since blue light has a stimulating effect on the brain which is why it interferes with your sleep.

In fact, a study conducted by PNAS in 2014 showed that exposure to blue light not only disrupted the body's circadian rhythm, but also made people feel less alert the following day.

While experts suggest to simply stop using digital devices a couple hours before bedtime to combat this problem, this isn't realistic for most.

One option many have found useful is turning on the "night mode" setting on our electronic devices. However, even this is not often enough and some devices such as TV's don't have this feature.

This is where blue light blocking glasses are very useful and can prevent the disruption of our body's natural circadian rhythm. These glasses are relatively inexpensive, stylish, and can even be fun to wear as a fashion accessory.

One woman's experience in Good Housekeeping may help you decide if they're right for you:

Conclusion

Technology has made our lives easier and more efficient. But it comes with side effects to our bodies. If you are looking for ways to combat these effects, consider the aforementioned options so you can still enjoy those late night Netflix binges.

 

We'd love to hear your experience with too much screen time and how it affected you in the comments below.


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