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Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Written by: Mallory Vance - Wellness Intern

Since the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, Americans have seen a decrease in physical activity by 22% and an increase in sedentary time by 38%, according to the Journal of Sports Medicine. This sedentary activity has left American adults sitting in front of screens for an average of 11+ hours a day. Screen time is the total amount of time spent in front of any screen, and is not reserved just for cell phones and tablets, but also work computers, and television screens. Screen time is such a routine in our daily lives that we often forget how much time we are actually spending in front of screens. The average working US adult spends at least six hours a day working in front of a screen and at least four hours of screen time in their free time outside of work.

Extended hours of screen time can lead to increased anxiety, decreased work productivity, physical aches and pains, tired eyes, strained relationships, and a decrease in physical health and fitness. Blue light from technology screens can lead to disturbed sleep patterns. The light disrupts the body’s melatonin levels, leading to extended periods of waking up in the middle of the night.

Wondering how you can lessen your screen time and improve your overall quality of life? Here are some tips:

  • Set a schedule to put away blue light devices 1 hour before bedtime: Giving yourself a break from blue light exposure an hour before preparing to sleep helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

  • Set Screen Time Alarms: Most phone applications allow you to set timers if you have been scrolling or playing games for too long. Allowing yourself to be aware of the time you spend on screened devices makes it easier to set your boundaries.

  • Take Active Breaks: For every hour that you spend sitting on a computer, phone, or in front of a television screen, take 5-10 minutes to walk away from the screen to give your eyes a break, and move your body.

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