How Screen Time Impacts the Body

by Melissa Chichester

These days, screens are everywhere – and it’s hard to turn away from them.

Whether it’s a smartphone, a TV, a work computer, or even the gas pump, they are here to stay. 

A 2018 Nielsen study revealed the average American adult spends more than 11 hours per day consuming media from screens. Unfortunately, too much screen time can have an impact on our health. This is supported by a growing body of evidence. 

Here are some of the ways too much screen time impacts the body and mind. 

Eye health

With the growing dependency on electronics, exposure to blue light has increased. Lutein helps filter out high-energy blue light which may otherwise induce oxidative stress and possible free-radical damage to the eyes.* It also helps reduce occasional eye fatigue from exposure to high-energy blue light sources.*

Mental health 

Have you ever spent time worrying about your virtual self-image? Too much time spent on social media sites can impact your self-esteem. It’s easier than ever to create a dream life with the click of a button. However, that dream world is taking you away from cultivating relationships with friends and family members, discovering your true passions, and living out new experiences. This can lead to a lack of satisfaction and impact your sense of well-being. 

Skeletal health 

You probably know already that sitting too often isn’t healthy.  Adding to that, most people are hunched over or looking down when they use their devices for extended periods of time. This can create back and neck pain.

Sleep health 

Increased screen time has been linked to sleep disruptions. Blue light exposure can trick your brain into thinking it isn’t time to go to sleep yet. 

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Social health 

Spending time on a device is typically a solitary activity. This may lead to increased anti-social feelings or even withdrawal over time. Connecting with others is an essential part of overall happiness and mental health. 

5 tips to reduce screen time

After discovering the many ways screen time impacts your body, you may want to figure out ways to step away from the bright glowing box and into other parts of your life. It takes effort, but simple adjustments will make it easier to create these habits over time. 

1. Set a time to unplug. Make time each day for life without your phone, computer, tablet, or TV.  Use this time to spend on a hobby you enjoy, exercising, or getting out in nature. Turn “screen time” into “green time.” 

2. Keep screens out of the bedroom. Bedrooms are for sleep and intimacy. Keep the screens out for better rest, relaxation, and recreation. 

3. Make mealtime screen-free. Family meals are a great way to catch up at the end of the day. Be present and keep all phones away from the table to enjoy each other’s company. 

4. Download an app to limit social media time. Do you get lost in the endless scroll? Install an app on your smartphone that prevents you from accessing social media apps after a certain amount of use per day.

5. Take regular breaks. If you work at a computer all day, take breaks to get up and stretch or go for a quick walk. 

By taking proactive steps daily, you can reduce the impact of screen time on your health and wellness.