*Nothing in this article constitutes medical advice. Seek the guidance of a physician if you have any questions.*
Most of us will spend time looking at some sort of screen everyday. Between our phones and our computers, between work and daily internet exploration our eyes spend a long time staring at screens that can cause damage. Eye strain is a major concern for those who work with computers, and downright anyone who spends time staring at a smartphone. It can affect your vision, it can give you headaches, and it can affect your sleep. Excessive screen time habits can absolutely take their toll on a person’s health in numerous ways, affecting their lives in a negative way. Do you spend hours staring at screens that leave you with tired eyes or headaches? Do you find yourself staying up late with a blue hue draped around your head from a cell phone?
Before you let excessive screen time take over your daily routine it might be time to take a look at what that screen time can do to you. With an increasing number of products created to aid this issue, from night light screen settings to special blue-lensed glasses, there are a number of exciting solutions to this growing problem. But before we dive into the solutions, just how does screen time affect you and your sleeping habits anyway?
How can Screen Time actually affect you?
Computer eye strain isn’t a myth, it’s likely something you’re experiencing right now. From a slight headache to altered sleeping habits there are different ways that excessive screen time can affect you. As you can imagine, this disorder and issue has grown exponentially over the last few years. Almost everyone has to use a computer in their day-to-day routine, and those hours in front of the screen are only going to add up over time. So first of all the answer is yes, screen time can have a definitive and negative impact on you. The disorder and issue is so common, in fact, that it has its own name: digital eye strain. Digital eye strain is a diagnosable condition that can occur from spending too many hours staring at computer screens, phones, office screens or anything similar.
Unfortunately, this problem is increasing in people of all ages, including children. The blue light emitted by these screens is what specifically affects us, which is what led to the creation of blue-light tinted reading glasses. But how exactly does this light affect us? To put it simply, it stimulates us. Using phones too closely to your sleep can leave you stimulated and “awake”. It could also suppress your melatonin levels and leave you unable to find a peaceful night’s rest. This increasingly problematic disorder is taken quite seriously these days, with doctors more than happy to help their patients to stifle this condition. But not every diagnosis demands a medical treatment, there are plenty of ways to address this condition.
Screen Time and Sleep Time
As we just discussed, the simple truth is that any amount of screen time used at the wrong time could affect your sleep time. Using your cell phone or computer within an hour of your normal bed time is likely going to affect that time. The same that is said of adults with smartphones and computers can also be said of children with tablets and consoles, using it too much will affect your health and using it at the wrong time is going to give you a bad night’s sleep. Over time, people have developed different tips and techniques to address these issues. Some of them seem extensive, some of them are downright odd, but they all help to fight against the growing problem that is digital eye strain.
ALTERED SCREEN TIME PRACTICES AND HABITS
The simplest solutions really are the easiest, aren’t they? First and foremost, the simplest way to address digital eye strain is to use the recommended techniques and tips that have been mentioned for years. For every 50 minutes you spend looking at a computer screen you should spend 10 minutes looking elsewhere. Don’t use computers or smartphones within an hour of bedtime, and if you do make sure to use one of those nifty and new blue light-filtering apps. And last but not least avoid looking at your smartphone in the middle of the night so as to not stimulate yourself. These tricks might seem a bit too simple, but they’re the best solutions for addressing this problem.
ADJUST YOUR MONITORS AND COMPUTERS
As we mentioned above, new apps and settings are being developed to help address these issues. But unfortunately, those can’t be used at all times. Using these blue light filters will, undoubtedly, affect the image that’s displayed on the screen. However, brightness and vibrancy settings are also a factor in this issue. It’s not just a matter of staring at digital screens – it’s staring at brightly-lit screens that affects us so negatively. Simply changing and adjusting the settings on the screens you deal with in your day-to-day is one of the easiest solutions to addressing this problem.
BLUE LIGHT-FILTERING GLASSES
Once an expensive solution to this problem, now blue light-filtering glasses are cheap and on almost every market. These glasses do a more effective job of filtering out the disruptive blue light emitted by almost every digital screen. By wearing these glasses during your computer use you give your eyes, and your bedtime, a fighting chance at survival!
The Importance of a Healthy Rest
Getting a good night’s rest is a universal necessity – every single person in the world needs to get some rest. It’s in our DNA. Over time, it’s only inevitable that we develop certain technologies that could disrupt our instincts or patterns. Every day new nuisances are being created, imagined and developed to more effectively disrupt our sleep and keep us distracted and stimulated. But just like those developing issues, more answers to growing problems like Digital Eye Strain will be created. New glasses could be developed, possibly newly digitized screens that don’t give off the same effects.
However, there’s nothing wrong with solving the problem yourself with a few of the healthy, and simple, tricks we’ve listed above. Let’s band together and banish the problem that is Digital Eye Strain!