Step away from the screen for the sake of your brain

Working professionals are surrounded by screens—laptops or computers in the office or factory, smartphones during down time, tablets in bed for reading.

screen time outside look up

But science shows that the amount of time we spend with our screens is restructuring our brains, according to a Sept. 22 article on

Multiple studies have shown that excessive time on these devices can shrink gray matter by 10% to 20% and can cause long-term changes that resemble ADHD and dementia, the article notes.

What can you do?

Article author Lori Russell provides these five tips to keep screen time under control:

1. Avoid screens one to two hours before bed.

That’s easier said than done, but the light from screens curbs the production of melatonin and makes quality sleep more difficult.

2. Make a point to interact face to face.

Instead of staring at your phone at the airport or on public transportation, allow interactions with strangers to happen, she suggests. Or instead of long email chains, hold a meeting.

3. Consider using neuro-feedback therapy.

“Neurofeedback is a technique that involves training the brain to strengthen certain healthy brainwaves and regulate those brainwaves that are either over-stimulated, under-stimulated or unstable,” Russell writes.

4. Find alternatives to screens where possible.

Instead of scrolling through headlines on your phone, pick up a newspaper. Or use a physical calendar instead of a virtual one.

5. Remember to counterbalance your screen time.

Build in technology breaks. Step away from the computer and take a walk. Talk with someone at a restaurant during lunch. Sit on a park bench and enjoy a few moments of quiet. It all adds up to a healthier balance.

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