Ways To Keep Your Gadget Use Healthy
You know you’ve found a new favourite gadget when you can’t bear to tear yourself away from it. It might be a downtime activity like gaming that you can do for hours on end, or a key piece of equipment that helps life run a bit more smoothly – and for those, plus everything in between, it’s far too easy to lean on them every day. If that’s going to happen, well-worn gadget fiends know that it’s wise to make small adjustments for our mental and physical well-being.
From factoring in breaks, to changing our set-up to better suit our bodies, small tweaks can make the world of difference when we’re heavy gadget users. And as we enter a more digitally-focused age, it’s more important than ever to ensure we’re getting it right.
So accounting for a range of tech, here are our tips on making sure our gadget use stays healthy for our mind and bodies.
Use a blue light filter on screens
Blue light is part of the brightness emitted that helps us see laptop, phone and TV screens clearly. But extended use, and using these gadgets late at night, can send mixed signals to the brain, so it can mess up our daily body rhythms like sleep. It’s now become popular to include a blue light filter option in screens, so that it emits warmer colours before bedtime. You’ll find this option in Macs, PCs, Androids and iPhones for starters, most often in display settings.
Wear over-ear headphones rather than earbuds
When we’re choosing our headphones, it’s easy to pick features we want without too much thought – for example, we know that earbud headphones are perfect for being active (at the gym or running) or being discreet (like when we’re on Zoom video calls). But over a long period of time, studies show that in-ear headphones are more damaging to us than over-ear headphones as we tend to listen at a louder volume. Thankfully, Dr Dre and his Beats brand have helped make the over-ears fashionable again, so we’ll be spoilt for choice if we make the right pick for our hearing. Another tip is to pick noise-cancelling headphones – that way, you won’t need to turn the volume as high to compensate for background noise.
Take regular breaks from screens
Especially now that work and studies are increasingly screen-based, we could spend all day idly focused on screens. We all know that it’s not great for our eyes to some extent, but the grim truth is that looking at screens for hours on end has a number of repercussions, which are all wrapped up in the ailment of Computer Vision Syndrome. The symptoms include muscle fatigue, blurred vision, headaches and dry, itchy eyes. The solution is to take regular breaks: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds. Oh, and make sure the screen is just below eye level. Talking of which…
Keep your posture right
Whether you’re staring at a phone on a bus or creating the home set-up for an expert gamer, good posture is key if you’re going to be in gadget-use mode for more than 20 minutes. As your eyes naturally look a little down of centre, try to make sure your screen is there also. The position also works nicely for your neck. A key goal is to avoid hunching over, so be mindful of leaning in or slouching. A good seat can make the world of difference, so if you haven’t invested in one already, it’s time to stop repurposing that dining room chair!
Avoid using your laptop on your lap
In fact, any gadget that picks up on wi-fi signals isn’t best-suited near our, er, reproductive areas, even if only because of the heat it generates. There’s evidence that it affects men’s ability to procreate, and while there’s no clear evidence for women yet, it’s worth erring on the side of caution. So instead of resting tablets, phones and laptops directly on your tummy or lap, a laptop tray is a neat – and more comfortable – solution.