Have your morning commutes with a cheeky coffee turned into brewing fancy coffee in the kitchen before the daily Zoom group call?
Have your evenings gone from spin classes at the gym to trying to do HIIT in the living room in front of the big TV (or endlessly browsing through Netflix)?
And have your nights gone from falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow to spending way too much time on your phone under the covers?
Everyone has had their routines completely upended this year, and one of the hidden side-effects has been that screen usage has gone up dramatically. I don't know about you, but in my house it used to be a shouting match trying to get people not to look at their phones and tablets when having dinner around the kitchen table. Now though, pretty much every activity requires there to be a screen glaring brightly somewhere in the room. While there's nothing wrong with looking at your screen, prolonged exposure isn't going to do a world of good at all, especially when looking at blue light exposure.
A lot of people don't even realise they're spending so much time using devices, which can create problems in your sleep cycle, irritate eyes, and have anyone start to pick up on bad habits.
So how can you try to curb screen time at home, when your daily routine is dependent on it? Here are some easy fixes which could hopefully bring unnecessary time right down, and maybe even give you a good night sleep again.
Check For Pre-Made Filters
This first tip is for those who have found themselves endlessly browsing phones in bed at night and don’t realise they have a bright hue shining in their face like the Bat-Signal. When we’re all looking at our screens, devices are emitting a small but constant stream of artificial blue light. Can you guess what type of light our eyes can’t naturally filter out? Yes, blue light sits on the spectrum in a space where our retinas can’t block it properly.
We all naturally get blue light every day from the sun, so while it isn’t directly harmful, the light is essentially generating a signal for the eye to tell the brain that we should be wide awake. When you’re on your phone past midnight in bed, you most likely don’t want those signals.
That’s why it help to delve into your phone’s settings and look around for night modes which will dull down the screen and apply a yellowish filter. Think of it like those yellow plastic screens you see in old shop windows. It might make things look a bit dull, but it helps from keeping you up all night.
Set screen alarms
Hands up who has to rewind shows on the TV every evening because they weren’t paying attention properly by being on Facebook or Instagram? We’re all guilty of it, and that’s why it helps to forcibly give yourself screen timeouts during the day. Set alarm that signify when you have to ditch your screen and when you can get it back again.
Oh, and if you’re the type of person who likes to be in bed by a fixed time every night, pop in an alarm for one hour before you’re supposed to go. Not having a screen in your face will help let your mind know it’s time to wind down for the evening. You’ll be surprised just how effective it can be.
Let glasses do the hard work
For the home workers who now have anywhere from 70-90% of their day in front of screens, you’ll have had times when eyes feel strained in the middle of the day and be sick of looking at the laptop as soon as the work day is done.
If you’re really feeling it, and want to help take the strain off of eyes, you’ll want to try some non-prescription blue light glasses, or get a blue light coating from your opticians. The filter will help block out the blue light (remember, your eyes can’t) and you’ll soon not get the same tired eye feeling later in the day.
To get a decent pair delivered to the front door, I recommend visiting https://www.kanturo.com/. They deliver across the UK and you can bag a trendy pair for around £20. If you do already wear prescription glasses, double check that your opticians does provide the covering before going into town. I did a quick check and seen that Specsavers don’t currently offer blue light filtering.