Reducing Screen Time

Nowadays, with the advancement in technology and the onset of globalization, we have become hooked to new gadgets. On an average, we end up spending more time with our devices than with our family and friends. And ironically, you would be currently reading this information on your device as well.

Screen time is the amount of time we spend straining our eyes while using electronic devices, be it computers, laptops or the handy ones such as mobile phones and I-pads. We obsessively check our email, feed on Instagram and bury our faces in Facebook. Apple Watch and other soon-to-come wearable devices which ensure that screens will never leave our bodies and life. So now, a critical question to ask is, does screen time affect our health? and if so, what is the impact? There has been a significant amount of research conducted on this topic in recent years which shows that screen-time stresses and detunes the body clock, brain chemistry and reward pathways, as well as leads to tech-addiction which can actually damage the brain’s frontal lobe. The harmful effects of prolonged screen time may include social and emotional effects like:

  • Increase in stress
  • Increase in time taken to complete tasks
  • Increase in anxiety when there is no access to electronic gadgets
  • Increase in impulsivity
  • Decrease in emotional regulation
  • Decrease in ability to recognize facial emotions and non-verbal cues.

Other than the emotional effects, increased screen time may cause neurobiological effects like:

  • Reduced number of dopamine receptors, which is linked to depression
  • Chronic need for stimulation and instant gratification
  • Decrease in focus and attention span
  • Deteriorated Eye Sight
  • Increased Headaches and Migraines
  • Posture Problems
  • Sleep deprivation

To effectively reduce your screen time, it is better to:

  • Keep ALL screens out of the bedroom,
  • Establish a consistent sleep-wake routine (including on the weekends)
  • Use a sleep mask and blackout curtains to make the sleep environment as close to pitch-black as possible, avoid heavy meals close to bedtime
  • Keep the temperature of the room cool.
  • Perform activities like yoga and meditation

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