With the recent pandemic and soaring technological advances, everyone is on their tech devices more than ever before. Think about it. Netflix and other online streaming subscription services are booming with customers and engagement. You can binge watch a show and look at a screen all day long as the interface is always auto-playing the next episode, making it hard to look away. Zoom video chats are required through your laptop for work or school. While you’re supposed to be paying attention in the Zoom meeting, it is easy to browse Instagram through yet another screen on your mobile device. Any way you look at it, screen time is absolutely through the roof. Should we be concerned about our screen time and what detrimental effects it can have on our health?
Dr. Cory Harow thinks we should be concerned. He specializes in sleep disorders and is considered a sleep expert in his field. Dr. Harow suggests cutting down on screen time in order to improve sleep and mood. For example, social media tends to be a big chunk of a person’s screen time. When endlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even YouTube, it is usually done late at night when we are supposed to be trying to get some sleep. Yet it is amazingly easy to go down the rabbit hole of endless content, some funny posts, some educational, but let’s admit it: most scrolls are just big time wasters. Dr. Harow has found out through his research that people feel exhausted in the morning after they’ve had a night of social media scrolling.
In order to achieve better quality sleep, Dr. Harow suggests unplugging from your devices at least an hour before bed. Taking some time off from screens before bed is important for eyesight as well, as we eliminate the blue light emanating from our devices. It has been reported through sleep studies and surveys that people who spend less time on social media than their peers reported fewer sleep disturbances and higher sleep quality. What is sleep quality? Falling asleep relatively easy and staying asleep through the night is a component of high sleep quality. If you wake too early, get up often throughout the night, or wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all, these are signs of poor sleep quality.
It is critical for our health and well-being to achieve at least six to eight hours of quality sleep per night. Placing limits on screen time can help us achieve better sleep, less eye strain, and overall better quality of life. When we feel our best we can do our best. A good time to limit screens is before winding down for bed. Dr. Cory Harow wants people to place their health as a priority and try to unplug from the very digital world we live in. Besides social media, it is also important to assess how much time we are spending on laptop screens and TV screens. Everything in life needs balance and reassessing your screen time will help achieve a more well-rested state.