TVs, computers, smartphones, iPods, iPads–we’re surrounded by technology on a daily basis, and it’s become a major part of most of our lives. We’ve talked about how the latest wearable tech devices can help you improve your health. However, too much dependence on tech devices could also make certain aspects of your health worse if you aren’t careful.
Technology certainly offers several benefits to our lives, and there is no need to give up technology completely. We just need to be aware of these potential health problems and adjust our habits accordingly.
These are some of the problems that tech devices can create if we aren’t careful.
Hunching over your computer and/or phone strains your neck.
We’ve talked before about how hunching over your computer and phone can strain your neck. If your job requires you to sit at a computer all day, or you are constantly texting on your phone, it’s not uncommon for you to experience neck pain. It’s no surprise, either–depending on how far you tilt your neck, you could be putting as much as 60 pounds of extra weight on your neck. The neck just isn’t designed to handle that much pressure. Also, if you are constantly hunched over, it could ruin your posture and cause long-term damage to your spine.
Luckily, the fix for this is pretty simple. Make sure your computer screen is set up so that it is at eye level when you are sitting up straight at your desk so you won’t be tempted to hunch throughout the day. If you’re texting, either move the phone up to eye level, or look down with just your eyes, rather than your whole head. Also, make sure to stretch your neck and shoulders throughout the day to relieve muscle tension.
Staring at a computer all day strains your eyes.
Another possible side-effect of jobs that require day-long use of a computer is strain on the eyes. People are spending more and more time in front of a computer. Combine that with all of the time we spend on our smartphones and watching TV. That’s a lot of time spent in front of a screen. Our eyes aren’t meant to stare at a screen for that long, and doing so could lead to eye problems. Your eyes can become strained and tired, and you may experience blurred vision or double vision. We also tend to blink less often when we are staring at a computer monitor, which can lead to dry, irritated eyes.
For these reasons, it’s important to take a little break from the monitor whenever you can. Also, get regular eye exams to make sure your glasses or contacts are up to date.
Keeping the TV on all night could affect the quality of your sleep.
The light emitted from your TV (or phone, or laptop, or any other device) could affect your body’s internal clock, preventing you from getting the quality of sleep you need to be fully rested. The light from the TV suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.
Ideally, you should avoid use of any electronic devices an hour before you are about to go to bed–no TV, no phone, no laptop. This gives your body a chance to wind down before you go to sleep. If it’s too tempting to use your phone or laptop until you fall asleep, keep it in another room. Using your phone as an alarm clock is not an excuse–you can get a small alarm clock that will serve your purposes for about $10.
Technology has made our lives better in many ways and continues to do so as new devices hit the market. We just need to make sure that we don’t become so attached to our devices that it makes us make poor decisions for our health.