You have a crazy tight deadline that keeps you glued to your computer. Lunch? Who has time for a break? “So much for a healthy lifestyle,” you mutter to yourself as you eat cold Chinese food at your desk. After several hours of digital eye strain not to mention neck and back pain, you send your report. Job done. You gather up your phone and head home to eat, scroll and watch TV. Later that night you toss and turn in bed. Another restless night.
Sound familiar? Welcome to the age of digital overload. Of course, by now you've read about the negative effects of too much “screen time” and how excessive exposure to artificial blue light can affect your nervous system and prevent sleep, but did you also know all this digital work affects you physically?
Face it, most of us do not have the optimum ergonomic work station. We compromise with chairs, desk heights, and screen placement to be “ good enough” to get through the day. The result: postural stress.
Sitting slumped forward and head tilted down to operate a computer places your spine in a precarious position. Muscles must adapt and try to do their best, but you’re asking a lot from them.
By the end of the day, you have built up muscle tension and irritation within the spine. You may notice knots in your shoulder muscles—a telltale sign of overworked muscles causing fibrous tissue lumps within the muscle tissue.
You have asked your muscles and spine to hold this particular posture all day long. Later at bedtime, you ask them to suddenly change. As you lie in bed, you just can't seem to find a comfortable position. Your pillow doesn't feel right, your bed seems off, even your clothes may bother you. This leads to a terrible night's sleep.
Other unhealthy habits can also lead to bad slumber. Identify and rectify them with sleep expert Dr. Rohrscheib’s non-negotiable rules for better sleep.
This starts with a healthy posture. Try to set up your work station so that you can maintain a healthy sitting position with your back against the backrest. Your shoulders should be held back slightly. The keyboard and screen positioned properly close to your body at the right angles as in the illustration below.
Instead of allowing tension to build throughout the day, rid your body of it in small amounts as you work. Take mini-breaks every 30 min. A mini-break is 30-60 seconds of getting out of your chair, moving around and doing some simple neck and back stretches.
Try these easy exercises in your mini-break:
More tips that can help end the nasty effects of excessive screen use, right here.
Yes, this may sound redundant, but think about it. On your breaks at work do you get on your phone, read texts and scroll on social media? That's not taking a break! You’re still subjecting yourself to digital eye strain. You are also in a head down, shoulders forward posture that is very irritating to your neck and back.
Instead, take a break and do the healthy posture exercises you just learned above and take a walk. A few minutes of walking will rest your eyes, clear your mind and unload unwanted stress from your spine.
Or, try this effective energy-boosting as an alternative method.
By trying some of these tips, you will notice that it is easier to sleep at night. De-stressing your body physically can be just the thing you've needed for a sound night's sleep.
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