So it’s no surprise that the mother of all time-sucks is officially the thing you’re holding in your hand right now.
Scroll time with your most loyal life companion, your iPhone, takes up an average of 2 hours and 57 minutes each day.
I know, try more like 5. I started thinking of all the amazingly healthy things I could do with the 3 hours a day I spend doing nothing on my phone… and then stopped to ‘briefly’ browse instagram.
At Parsley our doctor-health coach teams work with you to address every aspect of your health whether you’re working to heal from a chronic illness or looking to optimize your already good health.
Here are 3 ugly ways we see your phone messing with your brain and your health every day.
1. Light at night is throwing your circadian rhythm out of whack. Big time.
It’s a hard fact to face, but a huge part of the reason so many of us are not getting enough sleep is because our eyes are glued to blue wavelength screens for hours before bedtime, which according to research, decreases our body’s natural melatonin secretion and sabotages our sleep. Apart from the obvious consequences of not getting enough shut-eye (fatigue, weight gain and reduced overall performance), researchers have also linked short sleep to increased risk for depression, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Yes way.
2. Media multitasking is reducing the gray-matter density of your brain.
A study published in PLOSone showed that people who frequently use several media devices at the same time tend to have less gray matter in a part of their brain involved with thought and emotion control.
3. Exposure to blue light could be ruining your retina.
The American Macular Degeneration Foundation warns that retinal damage caused by direct exposure to blue light may lead to macular degeneration, which causes the loss of central vision – the ability to see what’s in front of you.
Not ideal. But don’t panic.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Reduce screen time in general.
So obvious, but much easier said than done. Set strict-yet-realistic boundaries and stick to them. Limit scroll time, enforce phone-free days once a weekend, do a thorough App spring-clean, have your bedroom be a no-phone zone. At Parsley Health we have tools and tips that outsmart even the craftiest of self-sabotagers.
2. Reduce screen time before bed.
Avoid looking at bright screens at least two to three hours before bed. Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
3. Meditate to rebuild gray matter.
Perhaps the most important thing you can start doing for your health today is to implement a brief daily meditation practice into your life. Besides all the globally-celebrated benefits of meditation, relatively recent research at Harvard has shown how meditation produces massive changes in the brain, and increased gray matter density, after just 8 weeks. “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology.
So we’re adding “combats smartphone side-effects” to our growing list of why meditation is in fact medicine. As if we needed another reason to really commit. (We recently went to a morning meditation class for our ‘weekly member workout’ and can highly recommend replacing one of your regular sweat sessions with a good dose of dedicated zen!).
If you want help getting serious about limiting your exposure to all the detrimental tech devices in your life, let a Parsley Health Coach help you find solutions that fit you like a glove.