April 20, 2024

What Constantly Looking at Your Mobile Phone Really Does to Your Body and Brain

Every day, sleep expert Chelsie Rohrscheib’s phone alarm goes off at 9:30 p.m. Not to wake her up in the morning or remind her to take dinner out of the oven. It rings to notify you that it’s time to put your smart phone away from her and not look at it again until the next day. It is part of her strict sleep schedule to optimize her hours in bed.

Three hours before going to bed, Rohrscheib reduces the brightness of her mobile phone to the minimum to prepare her for the night ahead. Then, with only an hour left before sleep, he abandons the device entirely. Only in this way, she affirms, will she be able to enjoy a good quality of rest and, therefore, a good quality of life.

A typical adult in the UK spends four hours a day looking at their mobile phone screen, which adds up to more than 60 full days each year (not to mention all the time we spend looking at computers too). But what exactly is it doing to your health? He Yo He asked the experts about the side effects (and how to help stop them).

Scrolling exhausts your brain

“The mere presence of a smartphone, even turned off, can reduce cognitive capacity [the amount of information our brain is retaining]” says health optimization coach James Cunningham. “It is known as the brain drain hypothesis. Because we rely so much on our smartphones for information, our brains don’t work as hard to retain information, leading to mental laziness. It is as if our brains outsource memory and cognitive tasks to our devices.”

He has a point. With a built-in calculator, map, calendar, Internet and Siri, what’s there that the iPhone can’t tell us? To keep our brain functioning and resist laziness, doing things like mental arithmetic might be an option, but when an automated number cruncher is two clicks and a Face ID recognition away, it can be hard to keep up. A large amount of research shows that smartphones reduce humans’ attention span and ability to concentrate. This weekend, The Sopranos writer warned that television is becoming simpler because many people now watch while holding their phones and can’t handle complicated plots.

Telephones are making us increasingly short-sighted

“Staring at phones for long hours at close range can strain your eyes and could lead to myopia, especially in children. Nearsightedness, or nearsightedness, is a condition in which distant objects appear blurry,” says Cunningham. According to the NHS, myopia affects one in three people in the UK and is on the rise.

Chelsie Rohrscheib is a sleep expert

Research by Great Ormond Street showed that there were a greater number of people diagnosed with myopia in more recent generations than those born during the Second World War, specifically between 1939 and 1944. The team found that 20 percent of those born between these The war years were short-sighted and increased to 29 percent for those born between 1965 and 1970. Since genes do not change as quickly, environmental factors are thought to have caused the increase.

It is not just a question of possible myopia. The blue light emitted by the screen can “contribute to long-term vision problems,” says neuroscientist Eldin Hasa. Staring at our devices can cause eye strain, dryness, and discomfort.

The grayscale function on mobile phones, a filter that turns the screen into black and white, can help. It is designed to help those who are color blind or sensitive to light. Dr Alka Patel, GP and sleep expert, says Yo There’s no concrete evidence that it reduces eye strain at all, but it may reduce screen time because we find it easier to zone out without a full-color screen.

A 2022 study found that putting your phone in grayscale mode (along with turning off social media notifications) helps reduce screen time. It also increased productivity and overall well-being. With reduced screen time, the negative effects of the phone are less.

Disrupts sleep and gut health

“Blue light emitted by smartphones (and computers) contains short-wavelength light that can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythms,” says Dr. Patel. Yo. Exposure can “alter the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles,” which can lead to irregular eating patterns. This has a knock-on effect on the gut’s internal clock.

“Disruption of circadian rhythms due to blue light exposure can lead to dysbiosis, which is associated with inflammation that can negatively impact gut health.”

How long do phone calls that increase blood pressure last?

How many minutes a week do you talk on the phone? If it lasts longer than 30 minutes, you could be at risk for high blood pressure. Research by the European Society of Cardiology last year found that talking on a device for more than half an hour per week is linked to a 12 percent increase in the risk of high blood pressure.

“There is a significant finding that shows that there is a potential link between phone use and high blood pressure or chronic hypertension,” says Patel. The study was observational and did not prove cause and effect, but researchers suggested that exposure to low levels of radiofrequency energy emitted by cell phones may increase blood pressure. They said keeping phone calls under 30 minutes protected against the effect.

Symptoms of high blood pressure include blurred vision, dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Although mobile phones can contribute, the main causes are an unhealthy lifestyle and insufficient, regular physical activity.

Slows down reaction times

We all know that we should not get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But using a phone can also seriously affect response times. Using a hands-free phone can also be dangerous, making reaction times twice as slow as driving under the influence.

In fact, a person is four times more likely to crash their car if they use their phone than if they drink and drive, according to THINK! This includes calls in both portable and hands-free mode.

It makes us feel alone

“Constant connectivity and exposure to social media can lead to feelings of loneliness, comparison, and low self-esteem,” says Hasa. It is not surprising that our mental health can be affected by our cell phones. The world of social media platforms, filters and people posting their “highlight reels” has previously been linked to self-esteem issues, particularly in younger generations.

Hasa says there could be a link between “excessive screen time and the prevalence of anxiety, depression and mood disorders.” In severe cases, smartphone addiction is at play.

Smartphones ruin your posture

Imagine yourself on your phone now. You’re probably sitting in a chair, in bed, or resting on the couch. Now try to think about the way you are sitting. How is your posture?

The answer: probably not good. “Prolonged use of mobile phones, often in poor posture, can lead to musculoskeletal problems such as neck and back pain,” says Hasa. Tilting your head 30 degrees to look down at a device can cause “the neck and spine to carry an additional 40 pounds, which can strain ligaments in the neck and back,” according to the Orthopedic Sports Medicine Center.

To help, it is recommended to hold the phone at chest level, keeping your chest open and your shoulder blades back and only moving your eyes to look at the device. If you read on the tablet for a long period of time, you should take frequent breaks and move your head from side to side. If you are in front of a computer, your hips should be at or above your knees, your feet flat on the floor, and your forearms as close to your body as possible.

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