Hip Diggs is a blog for you. It’s my goal to help you live a happier and healthier life. I want to help you find methods of stripping life down to the essentials. But this post is more for me. I’m only human. The post is about my biggest weakness in living simple. Too much Internet. Can you relate?
I know I’m not the only one who struggles with too much screen time. It’s not the TV. I stopped watching TV years ago. My post on watching TV was my #1 post in 2014. My problem is the Internet. I spend too much time online.
At the beginning of this year, I made a promise to spend less time blogging and using social media. I’m doing a little better, but I’m still not happy with my own use of electronics. Some days I let the electronics control me instead of me controlling them. That’s not good.
Recent Studies Show That Screen Time Is Unhealthy
I know the rule. We should keep our devices out of the bedroom. I do. All of my devices are kept in other rooms in the house. My biggest weakness is simply carrying a device into the bedroom with me at bedtime for a few hours. In the past, I’ve taken my computer into the bedroom several times per week. I’m happy to report that I’ve cut back. That’s not good enough.
I know some of you can relate. I’m a blogger. I love to write. I spend a few hours most days, writing and sharing content. That’s not always what I’m using the computer for in the evening. Sometimes, I just waste time on social media or watch unnecessary videos. My biggest weakness is hurting me. It’s hurting my family.
Why My Biggest Weakness Hurts Me
- Too much sitting: Too much sitting decreases the calories you burn. We only burn 50 calories an hour while sitting. There are also increased risks of diabetes, heart disease and cancer when we sit for prolonged periods of time. Finally, our posture is often very poor when we sit and use devices. I get stiff neck and back from too much screen time.
- Too little sleep: The blue light from screens can reduce melatonin levels. I know I often get as little as 4-5 hours of sleep on the nights I use a device in the bedroom. It’s been recommended that you stop using screens two hours before sleep. I’m working on this rule in my home. On days after an evening Internet binge, I feel much more drowsy at work. I’m tired of being a zombie.
- A bad example: When I spend time on screens, so does my daughter. We wind up doing separate things for hours on end, both staring at devices. I don’t allow Annie to take her device into her bedroom. I need to set the example and not take my own device into my bedroom. When Annie sees me doing something, she thinks it’s okay for her. As parents, we need to set good examples for our kids.
A Study Concluded…
You’ve heard that using screens before bedtime can mess with your sleep, but new research suggests the problem is even more serious.
Reading from an iPad before bed not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but also impacts how sleepy and alert you are the next day, according to new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, said the findings could impact anyone who uses an eReader, laptop, smartphone, or certain TVs before bed.
The new research supports conclusions from older studies, which have also found that screen time before sleep can be detrimental.
This is scary stuff. One reason I choose to live simply is that I want to be healthy. I want my daughter to be healthy. I need to reevaluate my screen time. I’ll admit that this is a major struggle for me. In the past, I’ve gone as far as disconnecting my Internet to limit my screen time. I went three months without Internet at home last summer.
As a writer and blogger, a complete disconnect might be too extreme, but I have a few ideas to limit Internet usage. Feel free to use these ideas:
Some Solutions For My Weakness
- No devices in the bedroom, period.
- Limit morning screen time to 60 minutes or less.
- Limit afternoon/early evening screen time to 60 minutes or less.
- Unplug the Internet connection two hours before bed.
- Read real books before bed (studies show ebooks disrupt sleep).
- Get outside more often and do more exercise.
- Reserve one screen-free day per week.
- Reserve one screen-free weekend per month.
- Reserve one screen-free week per year.
This is a tough challenge. I’m going to do my best to limit my screen time. I want to be a good example for my daughter. I want to get better sleep. I want to feel more rested. I want to have better health. I don’t want my biggest weakness to wind up causing health problems. Will you join me in a challenge to limit screen time?