3 Ways Screen Time Affects Your Brain
Thanks to the digital revolution, we now have the opportunity to be digitally present 24 hours a day. The benefits are many. We have access to unlimited information, we can keep in touch with friends, and at least as important, we can keep up with what the celebrities are doing. Through digital screens, we can be continuously entertained, but the benefits come with a price. And this price is unfortunately unknown by many.
You may have heard that digital screens like smartphones, iPads, and Computers emit blue light. Blue light is the most energetic light on the visible light spectrum, and therefore, it has the greatest impact on the eyes and brain. Unfortunately, the brain is not used to the overexposure of blue light that the use of digital devices entails. New research has shown that increased screen time can have catastrophic consequences:
1. Too much screen time can cause anxiety and depression
In recent years, we have seen a marked increase in the number of mental illnesses. More and more researchers are pointing out that the reason for this is closely related to the increasing consumption of digital devices. Mobile addiction is a real disease that in the worst cases can cause anxiety, stress, and depression. In addition, we see several trends in what neurologists call “digital dementia,” which refers to digital devices' destruction of the brain functions that control short-term memory, as well as focus.
As with any other addiction, being too addicted will rewrite the nature of the brain. The notifications we receive from social media have the ingenious (though destructive) effect that they release dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter we associate with the brain's reward system and we most clearly see its addictive habits in people who gamble, drink or take drugs. Unfortunately, our phones work in the same way and it is for this reason that an increasing number of consumers are experiencing overstimulation of dopamine, which can ultimately lead to social anxiety and depression.
2. Too much screen time ruins your sleep
All digital screens emit blue light. This blue light has the shortest wavelengths of visible light on the light spectrum, which means that it also contains the most energy. Although the sun emits blue light, our eyes and brains are not programmed for the overexposure of blue light that the digital revolution has brought.
The majority of all digital screens emit artificial blue light. In addition to the fact that blue light often causes itchy eyes or headaches, recent research has shown that blue light significantly reduces the quality of sleep. In 2015, the magazine PNAS compared the effect of reading a normal book against reading on an iPad shortly before bedtime. Not surprisingly, the study showed that iPad readers had significantly more difficulty falling asleep, but also that their brains produced 55% less melatonin. Melatonin is known to be the hormone that helps the body sleep, and you can therefore guess how bad it is if 55% of your sleep hormone is suppressed.
Sleep is one of the most important tools to ensure your overall well-being. This is where the cells regenerate, the brain develops and the body grows. Unfortunately, the overexposure to blue light emitted by digital screens has led the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 to declare a pandemic of sleep deprivation in Western nations. Fortunately, it does not take much to stop this negative development, and that you have ended up here suggests that you are on the right track.
3. Too much screen time can cause prolonged vision problems
Consequences of overexposure to blue light from digital screens are often dehydration, tired eyes and/or headaches. What is alarming, however, is that these genes are particularly prevalent among children and adolescents. As children's and adolescents' eyes are not well developed before adolescence, they are extremely susceptible and therefore particularly vulnerable to the blue light of digital screens.
Staring at a screen for extended periods of time can cause serious discomforts, such as blurred vision, dryness, and irritation, and in the worst case, cause permanent visual impairment.
Therefore, in order to protect yourself and your loved ones' valuable sight, you should limit the screen time and lay the phone away from you before and during the entire sleep. If your everyday life requires you to work in front of a computer, we recommend that you use software that can remove the blue light (check for flux). Alternatively, you can invest in anti-blue light glass that blocks up to 85% of the blue light that is otherwise emitted by digital screens.
Blueguard provides you with anti-blue light screen protection that not only protects your phone, it also protects your eyes, your brain and ensures you the best possible harmony with your digital devices. Contact us to hear how we can help you or hop directly into the shop and buy yourself a better night's sleep.
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