In this day and age, nearly all aspects of our lives are digitalized. Everything must be recorded, Snapchatted, tweeted or Instagrammed. People are even obsessed with sharing pictures of the food they eat at restaurants (they won’t even touch their food without getting a picture.) It’s hard to put the finger on when we started being so dependable on our phones. But the fact of the matter is, we spend hours on end on our phones, and there are some deleterious effects of this habit.
5 Reasons Limiting Screen-Time Will Benefit Your Health
Obesity is a serious problem prevalent in the United States. Nearly 32% of men and 34% of women are obese which is indeed shocking. This is primarily due to their dietary habits, but sedentary lifestyle also plays a huge role.
Our sedentary lifestyle is due to the amount of time we spend in front of screens including computer screens, televisions, and phones. It is natural to lose track of time when binge-watching your favorite TV show, snacking on a bag of Doritos while you do it. So, it is no surprise that many people gain weight due to these habits and may become obese. Preventing excessive screen-time ensures you actually get off the couch and move around a bit. Instead of watching fifteen sitcom episodes in one go… cut it down to four and go exercise to refresh yourself!
Eating while watching television is called “distracted eating,” whereby we eat more than we should just because we do not realize we are satiated. This is another cause of overeating, which happens when you sit in front of a screen and don’t register just how much you are taking in.
DISTURBED SLEEP CYCLES
Browsing through social media in the late hours of the night or watching your favorite show just before bed can also disrupt your sleep cycle. Not only do you forget to sleep on time, but the blue light emitted from the screens actually suppresses the secretion of melatonin, apart from other effects, which can disrupt the biological clock in our bodies and mess up our sleep cycle.
This can lead to insomnia, which can lead to behavioral problems, high blood pressure, and weight gain. Doesn’t sound too pretty, does it? Try keeping your phone out of sight before you go to bed. Instead, read a book. It’ll help you sleep better and also take your mind off of stressors – being connected all the time can be such a pain!
Lessening screen time can do wonders for your bad habit of procrastination. When all the hours seemed to fly by, and you had no idea where they went. It was because Instagram’s addictive powers kept you scrolling through the night. But when you limit your time on the phone, you have time and space to think about your priorities. Is there some studying you need to get done? Do you need to finish the chores? Pick up groceries? Pay some bills? Suddenly, your productivity soars, and you feel ten times lighter. It brings the mind a lot of peace when you stop wasting your time and actually organize your thoughts into plans.
Another problem is that the first thing we do after waking up is checking our emails and notifications. This is due to a dopamine kick we get out of receiving notifications, being tagged in posts (or memes), getting likes… it’s addictive! And the sooner we relinquish this need, the better it is for our sanity!
FOCUS ON YOURSELF
Usually, one switches on a TV show to avoid the day’s stressors, deadlines or priorities they really should be focusing on. It is a natural way to unwind but spending too much time doing this can actually be harmful to our state of mind.
When you stop wasting time in front of your screens, you can indulge in activities that are more meaningful. Call up your friend you meant to contact, bake a cake with your children, walk your dog for longer than just twenty minutes and enjoy the scenery, read a new book… the possibilities are endless. There is so much to do in the world, yet we are bounded by the small rectangles emitting constant jargon, erasing our capacity to think independently and be ourselves. The world is beautiful, and it is only partly discovered.
FOCUS ON YOUR LOVED ONES
Studies show that parents who are on their phones during family time actually damage their relationships with their kids, and vice versa. Being a part of the family is a lot more different than what it used to be – people gather around a TV screen, with their phones and laptops in tow. Every body’s attention is somewhere different, and no real conversation seems to be happening. This is tragic since nothing should replace the quality time you spend with your loved ones. The same goes for social circles – when you’re hanging out with your friends, it seems that each person is busy in their own little technological bubble, and it’s hard to get out of!
People have forgotten the beauty of substantial conversations and connections. Important discussions take place on iMessage when they really should be in person. Thoughts are miscommunicated, words are misunderstood. Relationships are trickier now when caps lock and emoji determine one’s state of mind. It is no wonder that people find themselves in sticky situations. Kill this habit and adopt a new one of actually speaking with the ones you care about. It would take you a long way.
There are so many benefits of limiting screen time for kids and adults as you can tell. People are just afraid to do it because they have made a comfortable bubble for themselves. But every beautiful thing is earned, and once we get into the habit of living in the moment instead of inside the screen, life will become better. Our minds will be freer, and our energies renewed. The next time your friend Paul drops a text at awkward hours, don’t reply immediately! You want this time to yourself, and you deserve it!