Some things you see on the computer might make you feel sick, but did you know your computer is actually making you sick? Check out this list to see what your screen time is doing to you and how you can fix it.
Heads are heavy, so looking down at the computer strains your neck and back. When you picture people in front of a computer, you usually imagine them hunched over, right? Instead of having the computer on a low desk in front of you, elevate the monitor or laptop to make the screen level with your eyeline. If you’re looking straight ahead, your head will be balanced on your shoulders and you’ll be sitting up straight.
2. Muscle strain.
Hunching over a computer doesn’t just affect your posture, it also strains your muscles. You’re so engrossed in your work you don’t realize you’re not moving. If it’s hard for you to keep track of how long you’re at the computer, set timers. Get up and stretch every ten or twenty minutes. It might seem like this method will disrupt your train of thought and keep you from getting anything done, but stretching will revitalize your body and your mind, and you’ll feel energized even as you sit back down in front of the screen.
3. Dry or itchy eyes.
Did you know that you blink less frequently when you’re working at a computer? Staring at the screen without blinking dries out your eyes. So, after you’ve been working for a while, take a break and close your eyes. Try to make yourself blink as you work, too. It might not be something you’re used to thinking about it, but think and blink and your eyes will thank you for it!
4. Eye strain.
In addition to dry eyes, staring at the screen causes eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision. While you’re blinking often, remember 20-20-20: for every 20 minutes working on the computer, look at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a break from staring at such a close screen. You can also push your monitor farther away, and turn down screen brightness.
5. Lower sperm count.
We’ve probably all heard the myth that laptops on men’s laps and cell phones in men’s pockets will damage their sperm. While it’s not conclusive that using a laptop on your lap will lower your sperm count, guys, there are new studies showing it might be true. Better to be safe than sorry and keep your laptop on a desk instead of directly on your lap.
6. Tendonitis and carpal tunnel.
Doctors are seeing an increase in tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome from all the technology we have to use in our daily lives. Tendonitis is occurring more because of increased use of the thumb in texting and emailing on cell phones, but cell phone overuse can also affect your wrist and forearm. Carpal tunnel is nothing new among computer users, because typing all day at the awkwardly angled keyboards causes strain and discomfort in your hands and wrists.
There are legitimate reasons you need to unplug before bed: the computer and cell phone’s high-energy visible light suppresses melatonin, which helps you sleep. Turn off your computer and cell phone at least an hour before you go to bed and take that time to read, relax, and decompress from your day. Another plus is you won’t have everyone’s meaningless Facebook statuses running through your mind incessantly!
8. Sensory overload.
This problem is most frequently cited as an issue for children, but let’s get real — adults can have a sensory overload, too. Too much happening on screen can boggle your mind and overwhelm your eyes, and your ears can’t decipher too many noises at once. Before you know it, you’re overloaded. While this is more common in children, it can still affect adults, and in different ways. For example, how many tabs do you have open right now? Pare down and focus!
9. Reduction in physical activities.
This is another problem frequently cited for children, but check out the country’s obesity rates and see if you think it affects adults, too. So much of our day is lived on the computer that we don’t get out and about as much as we should. Pokemon Go was being heralded as the solution to this problem, but you’re still staring at a screen and using your thumbs to play the game, which doesn’t help with eye strain and tendonitis. It’s better to periodically unplug from technology, get out and get physical, and benefit from living life away from a screen.