Screen Time Health & Safety
Date: May 7, 2020 10:19:54 AM | Author: Mercedes Tucker
While we may be physically apart from friends, family and coworkers, we are staying virtually connected. But do you find yourself connected to a screen more now than ever? Are you binging Netflix, watching Seinfeld reruns, reminiscing the Packers 1997 season, scrolling through social media or playing more video games? Screens may have captured our attention more than ever, but it's important to be aware of what parts of our lives are taking a back seat.
According to the scholarly journal “Screen Time and the Brain,” heighten levels of stress paired with increased screen time negatively impacts sleep quality by disrupting our body’s natural ability to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. This decreased quality of sleep inhibits our body’s ability to get adequate REM (rapid eye motion) sleep which is essential for storing information and recharging our bodies for the next day.
Tips to Manage Screen Time
How is your daily screen time impacting your ability to get a good night’s rest? Here are five simple ways to manage your screen time:
Schedule Your Day: having a schedule (no matter how loose it may be) can help us feel in control in a situation where we feel we’ve lost all control. Allowing screen time at certain times during your day can help you be in control of your screen time.
Create Electronic-free Zones: as you spend more time in your home during this time, designate areas to be “no-phone” zones. Maybe it’s the dining room table, the bathroom or the kitchen? The area you choose should foster increased interpersonal interaction and family time while doing your part to be safer at home.
Do Not Use Technology Before Bed: Maintaining a sleep routine helps our body produce ample levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Turning off screens 30 minutes prior to bedtime allows your body to prepare for a restful sleep, helping you wake up the next morning feeling rested and ready to tackle the day.
Set Limits: Most phones and devices can show us where and how much we are using apps throughout the week. In an effort to decrease these reports, there are settings in place to enforce time limits and restrictions, notifying the user when time is up. These small reminders and changes may eliminate 30 minutes a day on devices, but over time, you will have accumulated more time for other activities.
Stay Active: Getting up and going outside (weather permitting) is an excellent way to boost your mood and help burn off some energy. Engage in physical activity that doesn’t require a screen, get creative and try something new or just put on a great playlist and start moving!