Living a healthy life is a multifaceted endeavor. To be at your best, you’ll need to do more than just eat an occasional apple and hit the gym once a week. You will need to make smart choices whenever possible, including for things you might not even be thinking about. And while you may have considered all the usual advice, have you considered your screen usage and whether you need to limit it further?
Here are some reasons you should carefully reconsider your screen time and perhaps make a few lifestyle changes:
Screen Time Won’t Keep You Active
Unless you’re watching a TV on a treadmill, chances are that any screen time is also correlated with sedentary time. While it’s all right to take a rest now and then, most modern lifestyles don’t provide people with enough opportunities to exercise. People are simply far more sedentary than they used to be.
Getting rid of sedentary habits and lowering your screen time often go hand-in-hand. When you aren’t watching the screen or looking down at your mobile device, you’ll be more likely to get up and go do something, even if it’s just for a walk. You’ll also get a chance to clear your head and think more easily, which might just put you into a more active headspace.
Too Much Screen Time Can Cause Sleep Deprivation
Most screens constantly emit some blue light. This isn’t in itself a bad thing, and more blue light in the morning can help us wake up more easily. Blue light is a kind of light emitted by the sun in the morning, so our brains pick it up as a signal to get up or get up soon.
But when you’re trying to go to sleep, blue light can mess with your circadian rhythm. Blue light directly affects how your body produces melatonin, which is the primary sleep hormone responsible for making you drowsy and eventually drifting off. Specifically, blue light suppresses the production of melatonin and prevents you from being able to fall asleep at night.
This can seriously impact the quality and the amount of sleep you get each night. Many people find that watching tons of YouTube videos before they go to sleep has an adverse effect on their restfulness during the night and their wakefulness during the day. While you may want something to help you get to sleep, you might want to consider other, less bright, options.
If you want to gain the full benefits, experts recommend not using screens for at least one hour before bed.
Too Much Screen Usage Can Cause Eye Strain
Our eyes are fantastic, but they can also be overexposed to the light emitted from our digital devices. This can eventually lead to eye strain. Everyone has experienced this condition at one time or another. It’s characterized by sore or dry eyes and occasional blurry vision.
Not only is this bad for general day-to-day activities, but it can also be very physically uncomfortable. In some cases, they can even manifest in a lingering headache that you can’t easily get rid of without medication. This condition even has a name: computer vision syndrome, or CVS. This condition affects millions of people each year.
Reducing the amount of screen time you give yourself can give your eyes a break and help you avoid a painful headache. In fact, a study in 2015 showed that young adults who spend more time in front of the screen were more likely to get migraines.
Limiting Screen Time Can Improve Your Social Life
One of the more modern and worrying trends about our collective increase in screen time is that it’s causing us to become more antisocial. Fewer people might be going out, and the people that do go out are spending more time on phones and less time actually talking to each other. People might be physically present, but not entirely mentally present.
The fact is that we humans need to spend time engaged with others, particularly our friends and loved ones. While phones and computers can help us keep in touch with them, spending less time with our loved ones is a net negative, and it’s a bad habit that you can accidentally sink into as you become obsessed with your smartphone or other devices.
Too Much Screen Time Can Be Linked to Depression
For children and adolescents, in particular, there is more research that suggests that increased screen time is positively associated with greater incidences of depression and anxiety. While the exact links between screen time and these neurological conditions are not exactly understood, there’s no denying that teens who spend more time on their phones will be more likely to have problems.
As such, parents will want to limit the screen time for their kids regardless of their personal habits. However, it’s also a good idea for adults to get out of the house and stop looking at a computer screen as often as possible.
Living a healthy life and focusing on wellness involves having well-rounded habits, spending plenty of time exercising, eating well, and among other things making sure you limit your screen time. It’s an easy way to make a positive impact on your life, improve your mental health, become more active and social in-person, and gain other benefits as well. We hope you’ll at least start keeping track of it and seeing where you can make some changes.