Screens are everywhere, they’re sneakily invading every single aspect of our entire existence – from our phones, laptops and TVs to even our cars, watches and airport bathrooms! Sometimes it seems as if every flat surface has been transformed into a light and advert emitting screen. 📺
Now, the omnipresence of screens is not completely a bad thing. The technological revolution has had unbelievably positive results. I love the fact that I can watch TED talks on my phone while I’m working out at the gym. I love the fact that I can write this article and people around the world can access it completely for free in seconds. 😍 That’s honestly a miracle!
However, with the good comes the bad. Screens have undoubtedly had a negative impact on many aspects of our lives. The good news is that once you become cognizant of this fact, you can begin to alter your behavior a little. 😃 You can dial back the amount of time you spend staring at screens and still reap the benefits but not suffer quite so many of the negative consequences.
Read on below and I’ll dig a little deeper into the health benefits you’ll experience when you go on lighter screen diet. Enjoy! 🤗
1. You’ll sleep better
Sleep and screens are terrible bedfellows. For the entirety of human history, the brain has evolved to associated darkness with sleep. 😴 When we were cavemen, as soon as the sun would set, we’d scuttle back to our shelter and bed for safety. The nights were longer then and more full of saber-tooth tigers. Then along came Edison and his pesky light bulb. Shortly after that came screens. Now our nights are short and full of Netflix. The result of which is we all sleep terribly. 🤕
Screens, of all shapes and sizes, emit something referred to as blue light. This blue light has the exact same impact on the brain as daylight. The result of this is that when we look at screens in the evening our brain is tricked into thinking it’s daytime. ☀ This delays the release of an important hormone necessary for sleep known as melatonin. That’s why so often at night when you lay your head on the pillow you find it so difficult to drop off, your body may feel tired but your brain is still wired. The solution, ban all screens from the hour before bed. 📱 Nothing will have a bigger impact on how well you sleep than this little change to your routine. Don’t worry, that hilarious tweet you thought of about Kanye can wait until the morning.
If after giving up your screen you still find sleep a distant land, why not pop on over to the www.sleepadvisor.org blog? Those guys have a heap of hints and tips that might help you find your way back to the land of nod. 😴
2. You’ll rediscover your imagination
For countless millennia our ancestors before us had to learn to deal with one very important thing – boredom. Today’s screen-infested modern society doesn’t have this ‘problem’. As soon as we’re bored, we flick on our phones and dive unthinkingly face first into Youtube or Instagram. 🤷 I put the word problem in inverted commas above for a very specific reason. Being bored is not a problem, it’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to engage your imagination. You remember imagination, right? It’s that thing you used as a child to imagine that simple cardboard box 🗃 was a castle and that your dog 🐶 Timmy was a dragon trying to break down the walls. Good times!
Today boredom is seen as something that must be eradicated immediately but in fact, boredom is fuel. It’s the catalyst that leads to creativity.
If you’re sitting at home with nothing at all to do, you think creatively and you come up with a solution. 🤓 Well, at least that’s what our forebears did. Now we just watch ‘15 Top Slam Dunks in History’ on our phone. A little sad isn’t it? When you start restricting screen time, you will find that you start having more creative thoughts. Your imagination is awoken. Your dreams will become more vivid. The effect is miraculous. You’ll start to feel like a kid again. 😍
3. You’ll feel happier about yourself
I love the internet, I do. I think it’s the single most important invention since, well, since forever. Yep, nothing is more important than the internet. 🙅
But I don’t think we as humans have yet evolved to cope with it.
Social media, for instance, is an incredible tool for bringing people together that in early generations would never ever have interacted. I have fascinating conversations online every day with people from parts of the world my Grandma would never have heard about. 😳 But there is a downside. That’s the jealousy and envy we all feel when we see our ‘friends’ posting pictures of their perfect lives online. Social media promotes depression, that’s just a fact. ☹
People, it’s not real. Sure, Jackie is on holiday again. Sure, she looks amazing in her swimsuit. Sure, she’s got 30,000 followers. But what you don’t see is how it took 452 agonizing takes to get that photo just right. 😕 You don’t see that she’s up every night worrying about how many likes she’ll get. It’s all fiction.
When you begin to limit your screen time you’ll find that your perspective for what’s important in life begins to return. When you start spending more time with friends in real life you’ll rediscover that ‘likes’ online is much less important than being liked by the flesh-and-blood people around you. 💑
Well, there you have it, my screen-conscious readers – Three health benefits you’ll discover once you finish this sentence, turn off your screen and head back outside into the real world. Enjoy! 🤗
Written and Researched by Sarah Cummings