We are addicted to technology, but at what cost?
- Sleep Deprivation
- Heart Disease
- Eye Diseases
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Rewiring of the Brain
The list can go on.
Blue light is everywhere. The sun, TV’s, computers, phones, tablets, fluorescent and LED lighting, electronic devices, and any type of digital screen all project a blue light. Light from the sun is natural, traveling through particles in the atmosphere and scattering everywhere, making the sky blue. This natural blue light is what regulates the body’s circadian rhythm (the sleep and wake cycles). This natural light boosts alertness and increases happiness. Artificial blue light, however, does not have the same effect.
Most people spend a majority of their day at work exposed to unnatural blue light through their phones, tablets, or laptops. Due to the addiction of social media and technology, the exposure of light continues at home into the evening. Homes are illuminated well past the darkest hours, and people are paying the price.
The Dangers of Technology
Rewiring the Brain: Exposure to technology and blue light is rewiring the neural circuitry, increasing skills like multi-tasking, complex reasoning and decision-making. But it reduces emotional abilities like sympathy and empathy.
Repetitive Stress Injuries: Recurring movements that affect muscles, joints, tendons, and nerves can cause pain and injury to the area(s). Quervain Syndrome, injury to the tendons in the thumb, can be caused by texting, for example.
The Spine: Tilting the head 60 degrees places 60lbs of pressure on the neck. The neck and cervical spine can compress or stretch the nerves and cause posture issues and chronic health problems. Proper chiropractic care can alleviate symptoms and promote healing if you are suffering from issues currently. A chiropractor can also aid in preventing problems from arising.
Tendonitis or Wrist Pain: Holding devices and using the fingers to type can trigger joint pain. Virtual keys don’t react when they’re pressed. Users typically strike these keys with as much as eight times the force as they tap real ones. This force puts strain on the fingers, wrist, and forearm. Typing more than a few sentences at a time on a tablet or smartphone can cause problems. Even holding the fingers in anticipation of typing can cause damage. This is known as isometric tension, and it puts stress on the muscles and tendons. Disorders such as Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and other diseases caused by unnatural postures are painful and possibly debilitating, but can be helped through chiropractic care.
Decreased Fertility: Wifi (electromagnetic radiation) can lower sperm count in men. A 2015 study discovered that sperm count is lowered, damaged, and has a decreased motility whether the man spends one hour a day or seven working with a laptop connected to wifi. This includes carrying a smartphone in a pocket all day.
Suppressed Melatonin: Blue light can suppress the secretion of melatonin which leads to sleep disruption. Exposure to light at night is linked to breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Melatonin is a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, meaning that a lower production causes the entire body to be at risk for illnesses.
Headaches: Tension headaches can arise from eye strain, triggered by blue light.
Eye Strain: Constant or excessive blue light exposure blurs and dries the eyes causing strain and eye exhaustion. Blue light penetrates all the way to the retina and can damage light-sensitive cells causing macular degeneration, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
- Include chiropractic care in your regular habits. Chiropractors can aid with posture problems, joint pain, and other issues related to blue light and technology over-exposure.
- While it is impossible to avoid blue light and technology, it is possible to decrease usage by creating rules for yourself. Turn off devices 2-3 hours before falling asleep at night and lessen your daily exposure.
- Resist the temptation to bend your neck forward or backward, and especially avoid turning your head or tilting it to one side or another for extended periods. Take frequent breaks, and if you feel any discomfort stop what you’re doing and find a more comfortable position.
- Adjust contrast of light admitted by your devices.
- Try to stretch after every 10 minutes of blue light or technology exposure.
- Use a red night light instead of blue. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
- Consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.