22 September 2017

screen timeWe have so much technology at our fingertips that it can feel impossible to disconnect. Think about it, how many hours this week have you spent in front a screen?

A journalist recently asked me if I ever just sit in front of the TV and bingewatch a series. I spent so much time looking at my phone or laptop, I can’t think of anything worse than getting home and staring at another screen!

It’s actually quite bad for our health. With Netflix, Sky and other providers making it easier than ever to watch entire series of shows in one sitting, we’re getting lazier with our entertainment. It’s too easy to distract ourselves.

We all know that watching TV or looking at screens before bed can cause problems with sleep. According to Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, binge-watching causes even deeper problems nodding off.

Talking to Business Insider UK, Oexman said: “After a couple of weeks of not getting good-quality sleep, you see a decrease in alertness, you don’t function at a level you should — being able to maintain alertness in the office, being able to maintain alertness behind the wheel of a car,” he said.

“Our performance begins to decrease, we see changes in our immune system, we don’t fight off colds and other viruses as well; we see changes in cognitive thinking, where we can’t process information, and can’t learn new information as well… start seeing increased risk in long term of obesity from changes in leptin and ghrelin… see increased risk of heart disease; we see an increased risk of stroke; we see increased risk of cancer… So the long-term consequences of doing this, they are pretty detrimental to our health.”

So why are we struggling so much to switch off?

I’d much rather spend my time productively. I go to the gym, I spend time with friends, I learn a new skill – I’m currently learning how to play guitar and how to speak better French. I also love to play piano. Whenever I have a spare minute (or wherever you see a piano and me in the same room!) you will find me playing a tune. It’s the perfect way to zone out for a little while and it’s where my true passion lies. I am a musician at heart and any second I can, I spend honing those skills.

Additionally, we have a rule that allows no phones upstairs. For at least an hour before bed, there’s no screen time at all. That rule includes Gail and I as well as my daughters. Ideally, my phone goes off as soon as I have finished work for the day. After that it’s family time; time to spend with my girls and wife.

We have so little time outside of working and sleeping, why would you want to spend it looking at a TV?


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