“Just one more episode”: How the excessive time on our screens is affecting our bodies

by Ryann Thomson

As coronavirus has left almost everyone stuck at home doing work on their laptops or computers, our bodies may be paying the price. After spending all day on a device it seems like a person’s eyes can no longer take looking at a screen without hurting, and there’s a reason.

 Excessive screen time is affecting the body more than someone may know. It is affecting our sleep schedule, memory, eyesight, and so much more. 

Many people use their device right before going to bed, and it is most likely what is causing their normal sleep schedule to change. Although everyone now has more time on their hands, using a phone or computer before they go to bed causes the amount of REM sleep a person gets to lower. REM sleep is essential for the brain because it allows it to process and store essential information from that day into a person’s memory. (Harvard.edu) 

This lack of REM sleep is caused by the blue light emitted from screens. It decreases a person’s melatonin, a hormone that causes a person to feel tired, making it hard to fall asleep.

Now with all this excessive screen time, more and more people will come out of quarantine addicted to their phones. Prior to quarantine, 50% of teens and 27% of adults reported being addicted to their phones. (Yoursightmatters.com) Mainly in the United States, where people spend more time on their phone than most Europeans. Imagine how many people will come out addicted to their phones now. 

The constant usage of devices can also cause symptoms of digital eye strain such as: fatigue, dry eyes, irrational, red eyes, and headaches. 

Researchers believe that the increased usage of devices causes more and more damage to the retinal tissue. Today 16% of kids have nearsighted vision versus 7% who did in 1960. (Yoursightmatters.com) 

So, it is now more important than ever for a person to find ways to reduce their screen time. Some ways recommended include: 

building a schedule, limiting  time on streaming services, staying active, having screen free meals and avoiding screens before bed. 

Just a few of these changes and a person’s eyes and body will feel much better afterwards.