Suddenly your phone alarm jolted you out of your sleep and you simply can’t stand the sound of your alarm! You get up, grab your phone to restore it to a ‘silent’ mode till the morning but do you stop there? Definitely no! Once you grab your phone, you take few more minutes to check your mails, texts and social media notifications so that you’re sure about not having missed any sensitive details about the world. Even before your feet touch the ground for that day, you have your social media and other notifications at the tip of your fingers. If you still don’t feel like getting out of bed, you continue with your Instagram notify, the stories, you continue checking the puppy videos and start rushing through your morning routine.
According to the latest statistics, around 3 billion people leverage some form of the social media platform on a regular basis and the experts suggest that this number is all set to loom larger as the world gets more and more digital. At the current point of time, social media and the digital media has become the premium mode of communication.
Social media can also be addictive
Little do we realise that as we’re spending so much time posting updates, ‘liking’ statuses and commenting on them, we are actually getting addicted to social media. A Georgia-based psychologist, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford has reportedly said that social media has already become a mindless part of our everyday schedule. If you’re not logged into your social media accounts, you tend to feel that there’s something that you’ve not done throughout the day.
Though most of us misuse the social media platforms, yet they are said to provide us with many irreplaceable and tangible benefits. The entrepreneurs and small business owners can now build niche customers organically by reaching out to like-minded communities with the help of the social media platforms that are already established and popular.
But at the same time, it is also unfortunate to note that there are platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook which are also having a negative impact on people’s mental health with the increase in the usage. The University of Pennsylvania, in the year 2018, reported that all those who used Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram or a combination of all for more than 30 minutes in a day go through depression, anxiety and loneliness and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) as compared to their peers who are logged off. It is sad enough to note that majority of us are exceeding that 30-minute limit.
Digital technology is disrupting your sleep pattern
If you call it the screen technology, this is causing damage to our health by shallowing, shortening and disrupting your sleep pattern. Excess use of technology till late at night damages the length and quality of your sleep. Nowadays, kids are also using media for more than 11 hours a day and this is having a damaging impact on their sleep. Not only is this impacting their sleep, this also harms their eating habits. They tend to be glued to media and digital devices while eating, which makes them miss out on their daily vitamins, nutrients and other minerals. In fact, an ace health supplement company working online, Mr Vitamins Online reported that majority of their customers buy vitamin and nutrition supplements for their kids.
So, after all this, can it be safely said that the smartphone and digital media has destroyed an entire generation?
- Though teens require minimum 9 hours of sleep, they now sleep for less than 7 hours due to their overuse of social media.
- 78% more teens are deprived of healthy sleep in 2018 than what it was in 1992.
- Teens who devote more than 3 hours of their day to screen technology are 30% more likely to get less than 7 hours of sleep.
- The change becomes suddenly apparent after the teens are given their first smartphones.
- Children who use screen technology just before going to bed usually sleep less or less properly and they are the ones who tend to fall asleep several times during the day.
- Deprivation of sleep is directly linked to reasoning and thinking, gaining weight, depression, high blood pressure and anxiety attacks.
Digital tech is putting an end to physical exercise
There are many children who no longer wish to go outdoors or engage in any kind of physical activity. Instead of doing physical activities, they are happy experiencing the free LED games that they have installed in their smartphones. This also alters the chemical makeup of the human brain and leads to mood shifts and more anxiety attacks.
Moreover, constant buzzes and beeps reduce the undisturbed time which the human brain has to rest itself. The internet is pervasive unlike the other media like TV and radio. Whenever someone is waiting in a queue, they are never lost in their own thoughts as they soon turn to smartphones to spend their time.
Rein in your social media usage – But how?
Now, as you’re armed with all the bad things that can happen to your physical and mental health with the overuse of social media, what are the things that you can do to tackle the downsides of social media? The first thing that comes to your mind must be to log off from Facebook and take a ‘hard break’. In fact, a group found out that after taking a 1 week break from social media, people had better satisfaction level in their lives and also positive emotions. The effect was pronounced for Facebook users who misuse it, passive users and the users who tend to be jealous about other users in Facebook.
People also tend to get more curious and mindful regarding the effect of social media on their hearts, minds and relationships as they always tend to weigh the good against the bad. So, people have to ask themselves how social media makes them feel and then decide the limit of exposure that they should go for keeping in mind all the health and physical impacts.
Jumpstart a healthy change and start living a better life
You can’t deny that your day-to-day choices will make an influence on the vitality that you can retain while you age or end up developing illnesses which shorten your life like high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease. Once you came to know the damaging impacts of the social media, how about jumpstarting a healthy change in your life? What are the few steps that you can take in your life to lead a happier and healthier life? Read on.
- Get 8-9 hours of sleep every night
If you skimp on sleep due to your addiction to the social media, the drawbacks are not a matter of joke. Even if you’re skipping a single hour and you’re getting 7 hours of sleep, there will 24% more risk of getting obese. 8-9 hours of sleep is a must even if that means skipping your 7am workout routine once in a while. Use calming essential oils and other foods which promote sleep if you find trouble in falling asleep.
- Bring back good fats to your diet
No, this step doesn’t give you a license to start having fast food once again. But you need to be aware of good fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, fatty fish which can be included in your diet to improve your immune system. They will make you feel fuller for a longer time and hence you won’t get the occasional snack cravings. Moreover, this also gives you glowing skin. However, make sure you ditch the bad fats.
- Keep yourself hydrated
It is never possible to overstate the importance of staying hydrated. Ideally, it is apt to have 64 ounces or 8 ounce glasses per day as this will lead to increased energy levels. Not only will this boost up your energy but you will also get better skin and promote weight loss.
- Say goodbye to sedentary lifestyle
It is essential to do vigorous exercise but if you thought that lifting heavy weights for one hour can negate the negative impacts of sitting at the same place for the rest of the day, you’re wrong. You can invest in a tool which can track your steps; you can wear a smart band or install a pedometer in your phone. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs to burn more calories.
- Take probiotics
It can be super-confusing to know the supplements which you need and which you don’t need. But science points out the healthy benefits of having a healthy gut. From a strong immune system to a better mood, probiotics can do wonders to your health.
Therefore, if you’re someone who is totally addicted by the social media and this is pushing you towards making all the bad decisions for your life, you should take into account the above listed lifestyle changes.
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