Have you ever counted the number of hours you spend on your laptop, tablet or smartphone?
Most people have no idea how much screen time they actually have in any given day and, if pressed, most will admit that they are too scared to hear the results!
So, why are we spending more time than ever before on our screens and why is this such a big problem when it comes to our health?
Let’s take a look at the reasons behind this increase in screen time and exactly why this can affect your health.
The world is now a global village and a paperless society.
Everyone knows that we can now chat to anyone, wherever they are in the world, instantly on our phones or computers.
This was not possible 2 or 3 decades ago and we would actually have to travel many hours to have a meeting sometime on the other side of the world.
This past year has seen more of us attending virtual meetings and working from home to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The ultimate result has been more time spent in front of screens and less time spent with others in a social setting and face to face.
In addition, since we have been discouraged from socializing in 2024, we now get our entertainment from TV series and movies that are also watched on screens, whether they be laptop screens or television screens.
Blue light from digital screens can affect your health more than you realize.
This increase in screen time has resulted in more exposure to harmful blue light.
Blue light in its natural form (i.e. from the sun) is actually beneficial to humans and helps send signals to the body during the day when we need to remain alert.
Digital screens emit artificial blue light and this kind of light is not beneficial at all to humans.
If you spend more than 2 hours per day on digital screens, your eyes could begin to suffer. For instance, you could experience sore and red eyes, eye strain, dry eyes and problems focusing your eyes.
In extreme cases, too much blue light exposure over a long period of time can cause some people to be at a higher risk of developing a more serious form of macular degeneration when they get older. As you may know, macular degeneration can cause serious vision problems and even blindness in some cases.
Sadly, the effects of blue light do not stop there. Many patients who spend long hours gazing into digital screens complain of backache, shoulder and neck pain, chronic headaches and even migraines.
Folks who look at digital screens during the evenings may also have their circadian rhythms interrupted, which can cause insomnia and poor quality sleep.
Our circadian rhythm (also known as the sleep-wake cycle) is regulated by the hormone, melatonin. Over-exposure to blue light inhibits the production of melatonin in the body and, instead of starting to feel tired, sleepy, relaxed and calm during the evenings, we continue to feel awake and alert.
The result is that when we go to bed, we do not feel tired and have difficulty sleeping. Even though you may have had a long, hard day at work and need the rest, you may not be able to fall asleep.
If you do eventually nod off, the quality of your sleep will be poor and you may only get 1 to 2 hours of sleep the entire night.
The following day, you will inevitably feel tired, drained, sluggish, unproductive, moody and exhausted. These are very unpleasant feelings and no one enjoys performing sub-optimally at work.
If you continue to use digital screens at night, insomnia and poor quality sleep can become a recurring problem and could affect other areas of your health.
For instance, research has shown that people who do not get enough sleep, or who have poor quality sleep, begin to have compromised immune systems. This makes them susceptible to viral and bacterial infections and they could find themselves catching every little bug that goes around. Definitely not a pleasant way to live life!
Constantly feeling tired and sluggish will also affect your work or studies. Tired people have difficulty concentrating and are prone to make mistakes. You could also find that you don’t reach the goals set out for you and this could mean the difference between passing or failing your course, or being promoted or fired in the worst-case scenario.
Blue light blocking products can help to prevent health issues from blue light.
Now that you have read about the harmful effects that blue light can have on your health, you are probably wondering if anything can be done about it.
Luckily, there are some great products currently on the market that can block blue light from screens and allow you to work and be entertained as much as you like without worrying about damage to your health!
Ocushield (https://www.ocushield.com/), for example, stocks a wide range of excellent quality products that block blue light. Their blue light blocking glasses can be worn any time you work at your computer or watch TV and are particularly effective in the evenings.
Ocushield’s blue light filters for tablets, laptops and smartphones will filter out the damaging blue light rays and protect you. Definitely worth consideration if you are concerned about blue light.