Are you switched on to the connection of screen time & sleep?
Screens in all their forms have advanced our lives immensely. This past year, especially, our phones have been our only forms of communication, and our televisions have been the closest we’ve come to traveling the world. But, let’s not forget that there is a darker side to today’s technology and, whether we notice it or not, many of us are feeling its effects.
While adults scramble to ensure their youngsters get no more than an hour or so of screen time each day, most of us are guilty of spending at least four times that on our computers, phones, and television over 24 hours. In fact, a 2020 study found that the average American adult spent an astounding eight hours each day consuming some form of digital content. Here, we’re going to look at some telling signs that you could benefit from taking note and switching off, at least some of the time moving forward.
You experience eye strain.
‘Computer vision syndrome refers to strained eyes, blurry vision, or headaches caused by excessive screen time, and is experienced by nearly 60 million people globally. Long-term exposure to CVS can lead to permanent changes in eyesight, and if you think this has happened then you shouldn’t hesitate to seek professional assistance and glasses (preferably anti-glare,) from companies like eyeglasses.com. However, if you have yet to feel long-term implications, treatments are thankfully simple and include lowering the backlight on your screens or following the 20-20-20 rule for breaks. And, of course, reducing screen time where you can won’t hurt, either.
You struggle to get to sleep
As can be seen from this article at huffpost.com, screen time is also often behind issues like insomnia. Blue light exposure close to bedtime is the most obvious example of this. Blue light can affect melatonin production and impacting wake/sleep cycles.
Even daytime screen usage can increase electrical activity in the brain that makes sleep harder to come by.
If you struggle to get to sleep, it should go without saying that you could benefit from removing screens from your evening routine. It’s also worth limiting daytime usage where you can, reducing stressful screen-time activities like social media scrolling, and again lowering your backlight to help your melatonin on the whole.
You find it hard to socialize.
As parents, we often worry that too much screen time will impact our children’s ability to socialize while overlooking the fact that the majority of adult socialization happens through a screen. This is especially prevalent in modern workplaces, where it’s more common to email someone a few offices down than to have a face-to-face conversation. All of this can drastically impact our ability to communicate in person. In turn, affecting our understanding of eye language, conversational cohesion, and general social confidence.
So, before you admonish your kids for getting their screens out again, it’s time to ask yourself an important question. What is it? How is my own screen time looking today?
How much screen time do you think is appropriate?
Please share your thoughts below.
Elise Ho, Ph.D., D.N.Psy
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