YMCA of Southern Nevada

Why You Should Reduce Screen Time & How to Do So

Nowadays, getting through 24 hours without looking for a screen is almost impossible. Smartphones, computers, televisions, tablets, and other devices at home and work demand attention. Unfortunately, while screens help us perform numerous functions, they’re linked to several direct and indirect problems. You may be consuming more information and getting better entertainment through modern devices, but at what cost?

What Are the Consequences of Prolonged Screen Time?

Two Children Sitting on Couch Watching Red Fish on TV Screen

Poor Sleep Quality 
The light emitted from screens suppresses melatonin production, which makes it harder to sleep. What’s worse is that many of us use screens straight into bed, which creates unstable and poor sleeping habits. Also, notifications disrupt your sleep. With poor sleep quality, you may feel tired, struggle to focus on tasks, and experience more negative emotions. 

Lower Time for Physical Activity 
Devices that demand screen time are addictive, which encourages a sedentary lifestyle. It’s now normal to spend more than 15 hours moving between multiple screens without sparing time for exercises. What’s more, is how unconsciously you may snack to make up for time lost while scrolling on a screen. Movies, video games, social media chats, and work occupy our lives so much that we struggle with weight management, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. 

Poor Mental Wellness 
The information you consume through screens impacts your decisions and thinking. Despite spending more screen time, people, especially teenagers and young adults, report higher depression and loneliness rates. What’s more, information floods and long screen time affects children’s performance in school. Studies also show that brain structure changes due to prolonged screen time. The consequences include lower focus, little planning, poor impulse control, and moodiness. 

How to Lower Your Screen Time 

Create Rules 
Whether alone or with a family, it’s essential to set rules around the amount of screen time. For example, you could have zero screen time for children under two and two hours of screen time for kids between 2 and 5 years. It also helps to have TV and video game schedules and place automatic limits on your devices’ apps. Restricting app time ensures that you control the amount of time you spend on addictive apps every day. 

Create Bedtime Habits 
Better sleep quality is good for your mind and body. Create routines around bedtime that limit device use. For example, use the last two hours to bond with family members, stretch before bed, read a book, or sit alone with your thoughts. You can even create phone-free zones in the house. It’s best to switch off devices or switch on “Do Not Disturb” modes to avoid notifications. 

Go Outside 
Set aside time to put your screens down and play or exercise. Physical exercise maintains your physical wellness and also promotes mental wellness. Ensure that your children play outside or indoors without video games. If you can, organize hikes, walk around the block, or cycle. 

Switch off Notifications
Sometimes you need to use a device for work, research, studies, or a specific conversation with someone. To avoid getting to scroll more than necessary, switch off app notifications. This way, you can plan your app time.

Get Fit at the Y

If you’re ready to turn the TV off and get healthy, visit the Y’s state-of-the-art fitness center today! Contact us online for more information.

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