Three Smart Solutions to Avoid the Physical Harm of Smartphone Use
Communication is no longer the only attribute of smartphone. Our smartphone is becoming public enemy No. 1. People use smartphones to install spy app for Facebook to spy on others. Some blame this device for disrupting family mealtimes to distracting kids from studying. Of course, it is not the gadget’s fault, it is the call of the software that compels us to gaze at tiny screens 24/7.
Overuse of smartphones are wreaking havoc on our vision, posture, soft tissues and sleep. But with a few adjustments and moderations, we can avoid these physical harms of a smartphone habit.
Here are five fixes for potential health risks.
According to a report by Optometry in Practice, up to 40 percent of adults and 80 percent of teens suffer from different types of eye strain, eyes fatigue, and dry eyes linked to smartphone and other screen time. Gazing at the screen up close for longer spells can cause spasms in the tiny muscles that control the shape of the lens. Overworking the muscles causes the people difficulty in looking far away and up close as quickly. Similarly, with prolonged screen time, we blink less often thus causing dry eyes meaning red or swollen eyes.
Children are particularly ignorant of the symptoms of dry eye or blurred vision if they are enjoying themselves while playing games on the phone.
The solution: Reducing the screen time is first measure to take. If you are a regular user, then you must take a break every 20-60 minutes to allow eyes to look far and wide. Use eye drops to keep the eyes hydrated.
If you spend hours a day hunched over your smartphone using a spy app for Facebook, this can be a painful for not only your neck but also for your shoulders and upper back. The reason is that when the head is in neutral position, with no bend in the neck, the pressure on the neck is 10-12 pounds about the weight the weight of your head. But when you bend down your neck by just 15 degrees, the pressure increases to 27 pounds. And if you bend your head a further 45-degress, the pressure adds up to about 50 pounds. This is revealed in a study published in Surgical Technology International.
This constant tilting of head may lead to early wear and tear of the cervical spine. Meanwhile, excessive scrolling or texting can overburden the soft tissues of the thumb, hand, and wrist.
The solution: do not stick to a single position for more than 15 minutes. Keep changing the angle of your head and take frequent breaks. If you want frequently want to use your smartphone, then attach an external keyboard.
Insomnia or Sleep Loss
According to a survey of 369, 595 adolescents published in the journal Sleep Medicine, in just six years, from 2009 to 2015, teenagers in U.S. were 15 percent more likely to report sleeping less than seven hours a night.
After discounting the other factors like homework time, TV watching, and part-time jobs, the researchers concluded that digital devices were the most harmful factor in teenagers’ sleep deprivation. Scientists have found that the blue light from the smartphone screens interferes with natural production of melatonin. This is the hormone involved in maintaining body’s sleep wake cycle. Some studies have also linked the sleep loss with obesity, diabetes, and breast cancers.
The solution: If you are an iPhone user then there is a “Night Mode”, activate the night mode in your smartphones to control the effects of blue light. The other measure is to stop using or even ban your phone from the bedroom if possible.
Anthony, a 27-year-old blogger from LA., contributes this post. He started writing from a very young age and most of his skills and knowledge are self-taught. He moved into digital medium while doing a digital content training. Now, he share his knowledge by contributing on different forums and platforms.