The fever of digitization has spread like wildfire, and now it has entered our daily lives, from work to ordering groceries. We wake up, and the first thing we look at is the time. And guess where? Our smartphones.
And thus, the contact between our eyes and digital screens continues for the rest of our day until we close our eyes to sleep.
The modern workplace has changed enormously with the introduction of technology and the Internet. From bookkeeping to inventory management, every aspect of work shifted to the digital landscape. All organizations, government and private, rely heavily on digital devices and the internet to operate. This has proved to be beneficial in many ways. It helped bring down manual labor, the possibility of errors and enhanced production.
However, exposure to a digital screen for more than 10 hours a day can adversely affect our body and mind.
To avoid this, it is important to learn some techniques that can help us with screen-light stress and keep our productivity up to the mark at all times.
Screen Light Effects On The Human Body And Mind
Given below are 7 ways the light from your digital screens affects your body and mind—
1. Digital Eye Strain & Vision Impairment
Digital Eye Strain (DES) is a phenomenon that affects your eyes due to prolonged exposure to a digital screen’s light.
It can be characterized by the following issues:
- Excessive Dryness.
- Eye Fatigue.
- Blurred Vision.
This is mainly caused due to the blue light that comes out of the digital screen. The blue light in the light spectrum is the one that affects human eyesight the most. It has a shorter wavelength and greater frequency that can enter your eyes and make them tired if exposed for too long.
Moreover, the problem can also expand to more severe ocular issues like power in the eyes, cataracts, or impaired vision as one grows older with exposure to digital screens.
Another adverse effect of being exposed to screen light is insomnia.
With Covid-19, the nature of work changed greatly. Opportunities for work-from-home and hybrid working opened up.
This phenomenon removed the restriction of working hours. Employees have extended their working hours to late night shifts. Moreover, the emerging trends of freelancers and creators have brought forth the propensity of people to work till late at night.
Therefore, you are exposed to the blue light and other screen lights after sundown. This restricts the creation of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep after sundown.
Thus, exposure to different types of light post-sundown makes the body restless due to lower melatonin levels and disturbs the sleeping cycle.
3. Weight Gain
Since modern work has become completely digital for most job roles, an employee must sit on a chair and stare at a screen all day. This situation is greatly affecting our generations of millennials and Gen Z.
It is a major reason for gaining unwanted fat. More than two hours of screen time per day is associated with higher obesity rates, with teens who watch TV for five hours or more per day having a five-fold increased risk of weight gain.
Before going to bed in the evening, screen use can raise glucose levels and increase body fat. Spending too much time on Facebook could harm your waistline because it can raise your blood sugar levels.
4. Poor Posture
Digital job roles have transformed how we work because they offer convenience and flexibility but adversely affect posture.
Long periods of time in front of a screen can result in spinal problems, headaches, and neck and back pain.
People should prioritize ergonomic workstations, take frequent breaks, and include core-strengthening exercises that improve posture to prevent these problems.
This will aid in avoiding headaches, chronic spinal problems, and neck and back pain.
5. Increased Anxiety & Depression
The circadian rhythm, which is important for cognitive and behavioral processes like neurotransmission and hormone secretion, is disturbed by exposure to blue light at night.
Excessive screen time can negatively impact our emotional health, resulting in depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. Increased screen time has been linked to sedentary behavior, weight gain, depression risk, stress, and loneliness in young adults, according to studies.
This is because people are more likely to sit or lounge while watching TV, which increases the risk of overeating or consuming foods that aren't as healthy.
Lack of exercise, poor dietary choices, and excessive screen time can all negatively affect health. With so much of our lives now taking place online, it's crucial to reduce the harmful effects of screens on our health.
How To Fight The Screen Light Issues?
Although fluorescent lights may appear to be the answer, they can actually be more cost-effective, durable, and energy-efficient.
Consider natural lighting options like workers near windows or partial skylights to lessen your reliance on fluorescent lighting.
Desks should be moved closer to these sources, but you should still periodically check the environment for changes.
The 20-20-20 rule advises taking measured breaks away from your desk after 20 minutes of screen time and is advised for workaholics.
All digital devices, including fluorescent lights, are subject to this rule.
Moreover, several scientific aids are coming to the market that can effectively cut the blue light from screens. One such discovery is the blue light glasses.
However, the internet is filled with the question, “do blue light glasses work.”
To understand, you can try wearing light-sensitivity glasses to block the blue and harmful UV light from the screen while working. This has shown effective results in many research and is a sought-after product among most digital screen workers.
Give Yourself A Break
Lastly, it is important to mention that all 9 to 5 employees, freelancers and creators must understand the importance of taking breaks to cope with the stress created by digital screens.
Timely vacations, taking a day off, and other techniques are highly recommended to maintain the work-life balance.
This can help you escape burnout and maintain your productivity throughout your career.