DIY Health

from Lifestyle Medicine Solutions

Screen time: The struggle is real

The average American spends around 7 hours a day looking at a screen, while American children are averaging anywhere from 2-4 hours a day doing the same. Technology is here to stay, so how do we manage the time we spend sitting in front of a screen? One way to do this is the 1 for 1 rule: for every hour you spend sitting, try to match it with an hour of movement. Does this sound like too much? How about just taking 10 minutes out of every hour to get up and stretch.


There are a host of issues that we are now dealing with as a result of our screen time: obesity, sleeplessness, anxiety, inability to focus and depression are all byproducts of our screen usage. The American Optometric Association has also seen an increase in vision problems over the past few years and have dubbed the terms "Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain. Symptoms of these include:

  • eyestrain

  • headaches

  • blurred vision

  • dry eyes

  • neck and shoulder pain


So let’s talk a little more about those breaks:

One of the ways to help with Digital Eye strain is to take frequent breaks and follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look up from your screen at something about 20 feet away and focus on that for about 20 seconds. Looking at something 20 feet away helps relax the muscles and reduce fatigue.


Research has shown that taking breaks that include a short walk or some sort of movement actually increases productivity. If you can, every hour or so get up and stretch for a few minutes to relax tense muscles. Try to schedule “walking meetings” with your colleagues so that you all can get some movement in your day.


It may seem counterproductive, but movement can actually refire and ignite certain centers in the brain that just might help you solve the problem that you are working on more creatively that you would have it you had stayed hovering over your computer.


That being said, it's time for a break- we're going to get up and stretch!

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