How Digital Devices are Affecting you Physically and Mentally
There has been a significant surge in the use of digital devices due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its constant lockdowns and social restrictions. People, businesses, and students have had to adapt to the changes the pandemic has caused. Digital devices allow employees to work remotely, students to distance learn, and users to enjoy entertainment. While we are lucky to have the ability to adapt, many people are overusing digital devices and it’s affecting them in more ways than they realize.
How Use of Digital Devices Spiked
There are tasks people performed before the pandemic without digital devices that they now rely on screens for. Distance learning, for example, requires students to use laptops to meet for lectures virtually in place of the classroom. Similarly, remote work requires employees to take meetings and make presentations via video conferencing rather than in person. Personal device use, however, has spiked the most during the pandemic, creating a digital dependency and leading to an increase in digital fatigue, eye strain, and sedentary behavior.
How Devices are Affecting you Physically
You might notice changes in your physical wellbeing after using digital devices for long periods of time. Excessive use of screens can lead to chronic headaches, eye irritation or pain, trouble sleeping, and neck and back pain.
The main physical complaints that are linked to excessive digital use are:
- Trouble Sleeping: Using your phone right before bed can disrupt sleep patterns because the blue light stimulates your brain, confusing it to think it’s daytime.
- Eye Irritation: Constant engagement with screens can cause retinal damage, blurred vision, and dry eyes. Retinal damage can later lead to early age-related macular degeneration.
- Decreased Bone Density: Digital devices make users more sedentary, which can cause a decrease in bone density over time and can lead to discomfort and increased risk of breaking bones.
- Weight Gain: Sedentary behavior increases your risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
- High Blood Pressure: Sedentary lifestyles can also lead to high blood pressure or heart disease.
It’s important that you make sure you are not stationary for too long and you use your devices in moderation.
How Devices are Affecting you Mentally
Along with physical decline, digital screens can also lead to cognitive issues if used too often. Studies have shown that those who use their electronic devices or check social media often are at risk of feeling stressed, irritable, or fatigued. Screen usage has also been linked to increased risk of mental disorders like depression, anxiety, mood swings, and hopelessness.
Severe anxiety, depression, and stress can add to physical decline as well. Those who are affected are typically less inclined to socialize or exercise and are at greater risk of high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, and weight gain.
How to Better Manage Your Use of Digital Devices
On the bright side, there are simple practices you can follow to avoid the negative effects of digital screens, while still enjoying them in moderation:
- Turn Off Social Media Notifications: You will use your device less frequently by eliminating constant updates from social media.
- Try Not to Use Devices Before Bed: Stop using devices one hour before bed. Limiting blue light exposure at night will allow your brain to wind down and ultimately have a better night’s sleep.
- Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses: If you’re unable to avoid screens as often as you would prefer, try using blue light glasses to protect your eyes from your screens. These glasses block the negative light that is emitted from your screens to avoid shocking your retinas.
- Take Breaks During the Workday: Employees are known to work long hours without a break. This has increased with remote work because employees don’t want their status to be “inactive”. Getting up for a quick walk, to get some water, or to stretch will allow you to rest your eyes and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
- Use Ergonomic Seating When Using Computers: Sitting in an ergonomic desk chair while using your computer will help you avoid the stiff neck and back pain that occurs when you’re hunched over your keyboard. One of the best things I did was purchase an active chair to use in my home office where I spend a lot of time studying, writing blog posts and doing a variety of office work. An active chair encourages healthy movement which stimulates muscles, improves joint mobility and enhances circulation.
Thankfully, neurofeedback procedures can help alleviate the effects of overuse of digital devices. Dr. Johnson and his team can help you get back to your better self!
If you or your child is facing any of issues related to overuse of digital devices or other signs of brain and body imbalance, schedule a Free Evaluation (or call (586) 488-4818). See for yourself how beneficial the Michigan Brain Health neurofeedback program can be for your health challenges.
Always remember one of my mantras., “The more you know about how your body works, the better you can take care of yourself.”
For more details about the natural approach I take with my patients, take a look at the book I wrote entitled: Reclaim Your Life; Your Guide To Revealing Your Body’s Life-Changing Secrets For Renewed Health. It is available in my office or at Amazon and many other book outlets. If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the bottom of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with chronic health challenges, despite receiving medical management. Help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living! Thank you!