Everyone knows about sleep apnea, and its effects on our long-term health, but a more insidious type of breathing deficiency affects us during waking hours as well – screen apnea.
We spend more time than ever looking at our screens but rarely do we ever consider the effect this may be having on our lives. Sure, there are considerations like eye strain and back pain from sitting in front of the computer all day, but something far more important is going on – how we breathe.
In today's blog, we’ll explore the effects of screen apnea and how looking at screens can force our bodies to adopt certain habits that may be detrimental to our health. We’ll also take a look at how to navigate these issues through positive breathwork.
What is Screen Apnea?
Screen apnea is a condition that results from looking at tv screens and monitors over long periods of time. The condition forms as a result of stimulation from a screen. At its core, screen apnea is the reduction of breathing due to visual stimulation.
Screen apnea’s shallower breathing process is directly linked to various health issues, such as a greater risk of hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and heart attacks.
How Does Screen Apnea Form?
The expanded visual stimulation from tv and computer screens creates a cycle of focus and strain as we hold our breaths in anticipation of the next block of information our brains are absorbing.
Most modern screens emit a specific type of light that closely imitates daylight – this achieves a high fidelity of color and brightness for our screens but also has the drawback of forcing our bodies to believe that what we’re staring at is daylight. This input of daylight causes the body to work in overdrive, as it works to stay alert for what it believes is waking hours.
The obvious issue here is that our bodies rely on a day/night cycle to help regulate when we’re awake and when we’re ready to rest and sleep. By using tv and pc screens beyond waking hours, or even during them, we force our bodies to operate beyond their optimized pattern.
The most obvious way this affects us is in how we breathe.
With added stimulation comes an inability to maintain an even breathing rhythm, creating a pattern of breathing where we hold our breath for long periods, not unlike the symptoms of sleep apnea.
For more information regarding how to manage your breathing for a more effective lifestyle, visit our other blogs here at The Exhale to get the latest tips and tricks. For free guided breathing exercises that you can take anywhere, try out the Breathwrk app here and enjoy a FREE 7-day trial with access to everything we have to offer!
And remember: Breathe Better, Live Better.