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Today’s teen receives a whopping 4,000 texts a month! Even before getting out of bed in the morning, a third of all smartphone users first go online. And you can’t go anywhere these days—like restaurants, movie theaters, parks or planes—where people are not on their digital devices. Even children have iPhones and iPads to keep them entertained.
The Effects of Technology On Your Health
Not only are experts concerned about the increasing prevalence of “digital dementia” affecting American’s youth with alarming symptoms like depression, panic insomnia, and even psychosis, but the impacts of being plugged in 24/7 is also taking its toll on our physical structures and biology.
“The influx of smart phones, tablets, and other portable electronic devices has made us more prone to poor sleep habits, researchers say. The artificial light emitted by these devices signals our brain to stay awake, as it grows accustomed to thinking light equates to daytime. Our natural circadian rhythms become disjointed, and as a result, our brain produces less of the hormone melatonin, which is produced in the absence of light and helps regulate sleep.
“Such devices pose a greater threat depending on how close people use them to their eyes and the type of light emitted by the device, Rajaratnam said. Short wavelength blue light, the exact kind that backlit devices shine into the user’s eye, represent the greatest hazard to getting a restful night’s sleep. This is compounded through the brain’s decreased secretion of melatonin.”
Dr. Mercola also chimes in the harmful effects that technology and lack of sleep can have on our bodies:
“Whether you have the light on for an hour or for just a second, the effect is the same. It would be nice if your melatonin production resumed when you flip the light back off, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. So remember, when you turn the light on at night, you are seriously short changing your melatonin production. Not to obsess about it, but certainly don’t make it a regular pattern.
“One 2011 study compared daily melatonin profiles in individuals living in room light (<200 lux) vs. dim light (<3 lux).3 Results showed that, compared with dim light, exposure to room light before bedtime suppressed melatonin in 99 percent of individuals, and shortened the time period when the body has an elevated melatonin level by about 90 minutes.
“If you aren’t sleeping well, it is just a matter of time before it will adversely, potentially seriously affect your health. Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that you might not even realize you suffer from it. Science has now established that a sleep deficit can have serious, far-reaching effects on your health, and once you’re deficient, lost sleep can be difficult to “make up.” For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:
- Dramatically weaken your immune system
- Accelerate tumor growth—tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions, primarily due to disrupted melatonin production. Melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as triggering cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction). The hormone also interferes with the new blood supply tumors require for their rapid growth (angiogenesis)
- Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight
- Seriously impair your memory; even a single night of poor sleep—meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours—can impact your ability to think clearly the next day. It’s also known to decrease your problem solving ability”
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Tips for Your Health While Using Technology
We have all heard how sitting is the “new smoking.”
Business Insider reported about a “study of 2,000 people in 11 countries [that] uncovered nine novel new postures that people take when interacting with technology and working that have the potential to cause pain and discomfort.”
With hunched over backs, forward necks, and carpal tunnel on the rise, it’s time to invest in a standing desk like VariDesk. Spend half your time standing and then sitting. Locate an ergonomic chair (with a headrest and arms rest) so your back and head are “engaged” with the chair.
If you spend as much time as I do at the computer, then do invest in a negative incline or reverse tilt keyboard. Get a wrist rest for your “mouse hand.” Ideally, the keyboard should be right above your lap so your wrists are straight.
Control that Cortisol Curve
Phone screens and computer monitors both utilize lights for image display.
But blue light inhibits melatonin production which lowers cortisol for deep, uninterrupted sleep. Find a program that can reduce the monitor’s blue light to match natural circadian rhythms. I use f.lux.
iPhone users with iOS 9.3 can activate the Night Shift mode which doesn’t impact melatonin because the screen can change to more red wavelengths.
You might also consider Adrenal Formula which I use at special adrenal times to balance cortisol. I take it at 7, 11 and 3 PM.
Get Some Vitamin G
Last but not least, Ground thyself!
With grounding technology, the body receives a stabilizing electrical influence for all its bioelectrical circuits. The body absorbs an infusion of negative charged electrons which neutralize the positively charged free radicals that cause inflammatory damage at the cellular level and normalize the body’s voltage. Grounding also helps reduce pain and stress, and promotes sleep and relaxation due to its cortisol calming effects.
There are a wide variety of products—wrist bands, grounding mats, and grounding sheets—which help bring the Earth’s natural energy inside for use in our homes and offices. I have been using them for years.
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