Tech-No How technology is affecting our health.

By Dr Guy Ashburner | May 25, 2015

Tech-No How technology is affecting our health.

Technology is pretty cool isn’t it? You want to take a four-minute clip of your kitten playing in a box? No problem. You want to watch Miley twerking 21 times in a row on YouTube? Go wild. You want to make a confession on Twitter? Go on then, embrace those 140 characters.

Despite the convenience of technology, though, research is showing that the gadgets we use every day are doing us a fair amount of harm, both physically and emotionally.

It’s messing with your sleep.

Gone are the days when the setting sun meant that it was time for bed. Now, when it gets dark out, TV’s, computers and cellphones light up our lives, and people are awake until all ours browsing the internet or streaming series. But, according to the Harvard Health letter, this is not good news at all, as bright lights at night throw off your body’s biological clock and your sleep cycle suffers as a result.

In a study published in the Applied Ergonomics Journal, research showed that exposure to light from computers and phones can lower levels of the hormone melatonin. This is important, as melatonin regulates your internal clock and plays a roll in your sleep. When precious shut-eye time is affected, general health and well-being decreases.

It’s hurting your eyes.

Although it is not specifically the bright screens that cause, eye trouble, staring at your computer all day can have a negative effect on your vision.

According to optometrist Jacqui Bauer, it’s the shorter distance that the eyes are having to work at that is the real problem.

‘Short distance causes the eyes to focus three times as much and if the visual system isn’t adequate in that regard, it will cause strain, resulting in headaches, burning and irritated eyes and general physical discomfort.’

It’s harming your fingers.

You are more likely to use your left hand to hold your tablet steady, but doing this can result in painful symptoms such as repetitive strain injury or even carpal tunnel syndrome. Osteopath Guy Ashburner says, ‘An extended right index finger used for repetitive, prolonged scrolling, typing documents or emails can put you at risk of a muscle injury. Muscle fatigue, strain and prolonged muscle tension can lead to aches and pain in the muscles and tendons, and may also effect the flexibility of the the thumb.

‘Over time, excessive and repetitive use can also cause tendonitis and possibly lead to premature arthritis due to wearing of the joint. Most of these ailments are relatively minor, but can become quite serious if proper precautions aren’t taken.’

It’s making you immobile.

You’ve probably spent hours in front of a computer screen, whether for your job or simply because you’re obsessed with browsing the internet - and our bet is you’re not sitting in the correct position.

Unfortunately, the human body just isn’t designed to sit for long periods of time, so your health is suffering every time you slump in your chair in front of the computer or TV.

Guy explains, ‘What people don’t realise is that posture effects and moderates every physiological function in your body, from your breathing to hormonal production, spinal pain, headaches and lung capacity are among some of the functions that are most commonly influenced by how you sit.’

Luckily, Guy says, posture is a bad habit you can easily change. So get cracking!

But wait, There’s more - And this time it’s emotional.

You’d think that having 915 friends would make you feel good, but research shows it actually has the opposite effect. This because being on the Book, surrounded by so many status updates on your friends’ wonderful lives and perfect selfies can make you feel like your life isn’t as cool and you’re not as awesome.

Registered counselor Punam Dave sums it up perfectly: ‘People tend to post their best-looking photos on Facebook with filters to make them seem better. This can make you look at yourself in the mirror and start to pick at your perceived flaws.

‘FB is where your friends post about all the places they have been and their cool accomplishments. This could end up making you feel as though your own achievements - or the lack thereof - aren’t important enough or are not as special.’


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