Our screen time is steadily increasing. In fact, according to eMarketer, we spend on average 1 hour and 22 minutes more per day on our mobile devices in 2021 compared to back in 2014.
It’s no surprise that our screen consumption has increased since 2020, with people stuck indoors for so long, resorting to screens as a main source of entertainment. But what is this increased screen time doing to our health? And what can we do to look after our physical and mental health when it comes to our smartphone usage?
The Link Between Screen Consumption and Health
To understand the concern around screen consumption and our health, we need to go back to our roots and consider the role that light plays in our everyday lives.
Humans thrive in the light and rest in the dark. Unlike other mammals in the animal kingdom, our vision is better during daylight and is impaired at nighttime.
Thinking back to when we were hunters and gatherers, we thrive in daylight as we’re able to see the dangers around us and protect ourselves. At nighttime, however, we aren’t as good at identifying food that’s safe to consume, or seeing threats to our survival.
Because we’re designed this way, we use the nighttime to rest and recover. As the sun sets, our body starts to prepare for rest by producing our sleepy hormone, melatonin. By the time the sun has entirely set and the temperature has dropped, we feel tired from the melatonin release and because of the drop in temperature: Fun fact, our core body temperature has to drop 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit in order for our body to initiate sleep! We truly are designed to sleep after the sunsets.
When the sun starts to rise, the production and release of melatonin decreases, encouraging us to awake feeling refreshed.
Human Sleeping Habits
Before artificial lights were introduced to humanity, we would fall asleep with the sunset and awake with the sunrise. The term ‘midnight’ literally refers to the middle of the night. Nowadays, it’s rare for many of us to even be in bed before midnight, let alone midnight being the middle of our nights.
A big reason for this is our light consumption habits just before bed. This is because the light emitted from our screens tricking our brains into thinking it’s daytime…
Blue Light: What’s keeping us up?
Blue light is a type of light in the light spectrum that informs the brain that it’s daytime. Blue light is in our smartphone screens, our television screens, even in our Kindle screens (although Kindle has made an effort to reduce the blue light emitted from their screens, it’s still enough to interfere with our sleep quality).
Blue light emitted from our tech tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime. This slows the production and release of melatonin which doesn’t only keep us up at night, but can also worsen the quality of our sleep.
Why does sleep quality matter to our overall health?
Sleep is responsible for a number of aspects of our health. Getting enough quality sleep ensures the body and mind are able to recover. During sleep, we produce the growth hormones that allow muscular growth and repair. Sleep is responsible for memory consolidation, mood regulation and so, so much more.
When it comes to our physical and mental health, getting enough quality sleep is one of the best natural tools we can use to promote wellbeing. This is why it’s so important that we ensure we’re living a lifestyle that encourages getting enough quality sleep.
So what can we do about Blue Light?
As we previously mentioned, blue light is in most screen technology. Luckily, companies all around have heard and responded to this issue with some pretty smart accessories that reduce the amount of blue light that we consume from our tech.
Blue Light Glasses
We’re able to regulate the amount of blue light we consume by wearing blue light glasses. Nowadays, you can easily find glasses that have a blue light filter. You can even get blue light filter glasses that match your prescription so that you don’t have to choose between being able to see and being able to filter out the blue light from your screens.
Blue Light Screen Protectors
If you aren’t keen on the idea of remembering to wear blue light filter glasses all the time, you can use a glass screen protector with a blue light filter. These protect your device screen from damage, while also filtering out the blue light that interferes with the production of melatonin, thereby interfering with our sleep quality.
The great thing about these screen protectors is that once they’re installed, you don’t have to worry about blue light anymore.
It’s always a good idea to reduce overall screen time, however, we all have busy lives to contend with. If you’re needing to be on your screens just before you turn the lights off to go to sleep, a blue light filter can give you the peace of mind that your screen time habits aren’t impairing your sleep quality.
At QDOS, we come up with solutions to the problems our customers face. Use the discount code FEELINGBLUE to get 20% off your OptiGuard Glass Vision if you use your smartphone in bed!
From us at QDOS, sleep well and sweet dreams.