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Screen Time – The Posture's Worst Enemy

21 August 2023

We all know that person—the one who is glued to their phone and always looking down at the screen. You might even be that person yourself from time to time. And while it can be fun and convenient to stay connected with friends and family this way, there are some hidden dangers associated with too much screen time. Namely, poor posture. Read on to learn more about how screen time can lead to bad posture – and what you can do to protect yourself.

What is Posture?

Posture is how you carry your body when standing, sitting, or lying down. Even as you read this article, you are in a certain posture. Whether you are lying on your bed and reading from your phone or tablet or sitting at a desk reading from a computer screen, your body is in a certain position and angle.

Maintaining good posture is important because it can help you look better and feel better overall. When your posture is off, it can take a toll on your muscles and joints, leading to tension headaches, neck pain, and even chronic back pain.

When it comes to screen time and posture, two types of postures are important to consider: static posture, which is when your body remains in the same position for an extended period, such as while playing video games or scrolling through social media, and dynamic posture, which involves frequent shifts in position, like typing on a laptop or texting.

Static Posture and Screen Time

Unfortunately, too much screen time can lead to poor posture when it comes to static postures. When you're in a static pose for an extended period (such as hours spent playing video games or scrolling through social media), your muscles start to fatigue. This leads to your body shifting into a hunched-over, slumped position – the exact opposite of good posture.

This bad habit can cause long-term damage to your spine and muscles, leading to pain and other issues such as headaches, neck aches, eye strain, poor digestion, and even depression. Even worse, these problems often become more pronounced over time. So if you're spending too much time with your head on your phone or tablet screen, now is the time to take action.

Dynamic Posture and Screen Time

As previously mentioned, dynamic postures involve frequent changes in position while using screens like laptops or phones. While this type of posture may be better than static posturing in terms of stretching your muscles, it still can have a negative effect on your posture. For example, when you're typing on a laptop or tablet, many tend to lean in and look down at the screen for too long. This strains your neck and shoulders and can cause backache over time.

The Dangers of Too Much Screen Time

Regarding posture, too much screen time can be a real problem. An average person spends nearly five hours per day looking at their phone or tablet. All that time spent staring down at a small device puts a lot of strain on the neck and upper back muscles – which can lead to bad posture over time. Poor posture can lead to various issues, including neck pain, headaches, and chronic backache.

In addition to posture problems, there are many other issues with excessive screen use. For instance, too much time spent on screens can lead to the following:

Sleep Deprivation

Spending too much time on screens can lead to less sleep. The blue light emitted by devices like smartphones and tablets suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your body's sleep-wake cycle. This disruption in your natural circadian rhythm can make it harder for you to get a good night's rest.

Eye Strain

Staring at small screens for long periods can cause eye strain or fatigue. Symptoms include blurry vision, dry eyes, soreness, redness, and headaches. To prevent this from happening, take regular breaks from looking at your screen and try not to look at digital devices up close.

Difficulty Concentrating

When we spend too much time on our screens, it can be hard to focus and concentrate. This is because constant stimulation from digital devices keeps us in a "high alert" state, making it harder for us to stay focused on the task at hand.

Protecting Yourself from the Dangers of Screen Time

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to keep yourself protected from the dangers of too much screen time. Here are a few tips:

Take Regular Breaks

Continuing to stare at your device for extended periods will only make your eyes and body more tired. Take regular breaks throughout the day, especially before bed, to help reduce eye strain and give your body a chance to rest.

Set Up an Ergonomic Workstation

Adjusting your workstation or laptop desk to be ergonomically correct can help improve posture and reduce neck strain while using screens. This means setting up your laptop or desk at the right height, making sure your chair provides adequate support for your back and arms and using a separate keyboard and mouse if you're working on a laptop.

Limit Your Screen Time

Try to limit your screen time by setting limits on how much time you spend on devices daily. You can also try to set specific times when you will not use screens at all – such as during meals or before bed – to help reduce the amount of time spent looking at electronic devices.

Stretching and Exercise

Regular stretching and exercise can help improve posture and reduce neck pain associated with too much screen time. Try doing simple stretches throughout the day to loosen up tight muscles, or try engaging in regular exercises such as yoga or Pilates to help strengthen your core.

Using Devices While Lying Down

Let's be honest here - we are all guilty of using our devices as we lounge on a couch or lay in bed. We use our devices for a multitude of reasons, and among the most common ones is for entertainment.

After a long day, we often want to curl up in bed with our devices in hand, watch a good movie on NetFlix, browse social media, or chat with our friends. We use all these apps to help us wind down at the end of the day and spend some "me time" with ourselves. They give us an opportunity to disconnect from the problems we face in our daily lives and help us recharge for the next day.

In such a situation, our posture is the last thing we usually worry about. But it is important to remember that using your device while lying down can be detrimental to your posture. This is because when you are in a reclining position, the spine tends to curve abnormally, leading to long-term damage to your muscles and joints.

So if you want to protect yourself from the dangers of screen time, try not to use devices while lying down. Instead, it is essential to find an ergonomically comfortable place with good support for your back, like an armchair, office chair, or even an adjustable bed. This will help keep your posture straight and reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.

Using devices while lying down can cause neck strain. To minimize the effect of this habit, try to keep your device at eye level rather than holding it low, or prop up your pillows to support your head and neck as you use your device.

Height Adjustable Overbed Table

If you need to spend screen time while in bed and want to keep your posture corrected, FlexiSpot has an excellent solution for you. The Height Adjustable Overbed Table is the perfect companion for your bed, recliner and couch. This stylish table has a C-shaped base and adjustable height, so you can easily customize it to fit your needs. It can also be used for people who need breakfast in bed.

The desk is mounted on four casters, allowing you to move it conveniently. The base is thick and low and can tuck under any piece of furniture at least 1.2 inches high. It is the ideal solution for a home workstation.

The lifting mechanism comprises of a pneumatic system, which allows for a single-handed adjustment. The height can be adjusted anywhere between 25.6 and 40.5 inches. The desk is simple to assemble, and you can relax on your couch with this table in front of you within fifteen minutes of receiving it.

Final Thoughts

With proper habits, we can minimize screen time's effects on our posture. Whether you spend a lot or a little time in front of your device, it is essential to be mindful of your posture and take steps to correct it if necessary. Limit your screen time and create specific times when you will not use screens.

Also, remember to stretch and exercise regularly to keep muscles flexible and strong. And consider investing in an adjustable overbed table so you can use devices while lying down without straining your neck or shoulders. With these few simple changes, you'll be well on your way to protecting yourself from the dangers of Screen Time.