In This Article
- What’s actually happening when you spend hours staring at a screen?
- Step 1 - Switch your phone to grayscale
- Step 2 - Give yourself a break every once in a while
- Step 3 - Track the internal effects of your screen exposure
The effects of screen addiction go beyond just tired eyes and bad posture; in fact, you may actually be altering the way your brain and body function.
- From what most people know, the worst thing that could happen from screen exposure is bad eyesight - but it can go much further than that.
- Instead of going cold-turkey on your tech, implement some common-sense boundaries that will minimize the effects.
- Some of the consequences won’t be obvious by just looking in the mirror, but they can be revealed and tracked through testing.
What’s actually happening when you spend hours staring at a screen?
Most people are already aware that excessive phone usage isn’t doing their health any favors. Rather than focusing on issues like weakened eyesight, though, it’s time to take a look at how screen addiction impacts brain function and hormone production. Fortunately, the negative effects of screen exposure can likely be minimized or even reversed with the right strategies. The most obvious step would be to cut back on the screen time, but you can also keep track of how your body is responding with at-home lab tests.
Step 1 - Switch your phone to grayscale
Screen addiction is real, and your phone is probably the worst culprit. But guess what? One of the best tools to combat this addiction could be simply setting your phone screen to grayscale. According to this New York Times article, “the goal of sticking to shades of gray is to make the glittering screen a little less stimulating”. Chances are, you need it - consumers across the world have increased their phone usage by 30% since 2019, averaging 4.2 hours daily on apps alone.
How it works
- Screen time makes your brain change the way it processes information, because the brain builds neural connections based on what it’s observing. If it’s observing a screen, rather than the real world, it’s going to build connections based on dull, repetitive, or artificial content. This results in impoverished neural connections, and could particularly affect your concentration and social skills.
- The link to grayscale? If your phone looks less attractive and exciting, you’ll have an easier time choosing to interact with the world around you. You might even notice that you’re less stressed, more creative, and having more meaningful conversations.
Step 2 - Give yourself a break every once in a while
Ever heard of “doomscrolling”? Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably done it. All it takes is opening up your news feed, and suddenly you’re falling into a black hole of doom and gloom…but you keep scrolling anyway. With COVID-19 giving everyone more than enough to talk about, it’s hard to feel positive when you’re spending time online. Not only can this ruin your ability to concentrate, but it can also raise your cortisol levels - and that can have all kinds of consequences down the line.
Curtailing your doomscrolling habit will take a little discipline, but starting the process is easy - all you have to do is make sure you take regular breaks from your phone. Try setting a timer, and start using a habit tracker so you can keep tabs on how you’re doing. To combat your stress levels, increase your vitamin D with regular walks in the sun - it’s been shown to regulate mood and reduce depression.
How it works
- This particular problem is all about cortisol, the stress hormone. As you doomscroll your way past headline after headline, you start stressing over things that you can’t possibly control. The consequences on your mental health are probably obvious, but given the cortisol factor, doomscrolling can also harm your physical health.
- What kind of damage can be caused by elevated cortisol? Anything from migraines, to brain fog, to weight gain - and much more. This hormone is a critical part of your fight-or-flight response, but if it’s too high all the time, your brain is constantly telling your body to gear up for something scary.
- Cortisol isn’t the only hormone that’s affected by too much phone time; you might also end up with irregular melatonin production, resulting in sleeplessness and daytime fatigue. This is because high cortisol can actually slow down melatonin production - meaning your nighttime phone habit is messing with your sleep routine.
Step 3 - Track the internal effects of your screen exposure
It’s hard to take something seriously if you can’t see it for yourself, which is why lab testing can really give you an edge over screen addiction. With the help of Base’s at-home lab tests, you can track your cortisol, melatonin, vitamin D, and more, while addressing any hormone imbalances the tests happen to reveal.
How it works
- Complete the Base test kit by collecting a saliva or finger-prick sample. Once that’s done, mail it to the lab (prepaid packaging included) and wait a few days for your results to become available in the Base app. From there you can see where your levels are at, learn what they mean, and implement your personalized recommendations.
Getting hooked on constant screen exposure was probably pretty easy, but with these strategies on your side, you can regain control of your tech-related habits.