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September 27, 2017

Three ways smartphones are hurting your health – and how to combat them

Whether it’s to work on a project, compose a text or simply pass the time, there’s no denying we’re all on our phones – or some other digital screen – constantly.

Unfortunately, for all the benefits accessible tech brings us, it comes with its share of health dangers, too. Particularly for smartphone users, constant screen time can mean irritation to your eyes, sleep problems and bad posture.

Penn Medicine News delved into each of these tech side effects, offering solutions to help mitigate problems to your health.

According to Penn Medicine, looking into a digital screen for most of the day can cause migraines, muscle fatigue, and overall eye strain.

Though it might make you feel old, John Gose, director of physical therapy at Chester County Hospital, told Penn Medicine that it’s helpful to make the font size on your screen bigger and even to invest in screen-specific glasses, especially if you wear bi-focals.

It turns out the blue-white lights from smartphones and other digital screen devices can throw off the body’s natural rhythm and subject users to a bad night’s sleep. There are also the studies that suggest bad sleep can lead to weight gain, relationship strain, mental illness … the list goes on.

Health professionals suggest setting a tech curfew before bedtime, ideally an hour before you want to go to sleep. You can also try to change your screen’s setting so that it emits a warmer light during nighttime.

Finally, bad posture during smartphone and digital screen usage is an easy trap to fall into.

The ways to dodge neck pain could be hard to remember initially but could prove beneficial: Hold your phone to at least shoulder level, don’t slouch, keep your computer at eye level, and keep your monitor at least an arm’s distance away.

Ideally, you should also get up from your desk on a regular basis, like every hour, to help re-align your posture. Plus, as recent study notes, standing up can help you live longer.

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