Can Too Much Screen Time Make You Nauseous?
Do you ever feel like the light of your screen is burrowing into your eyes and making you feel dizzy or nauseous? These symptoms aren’t just normal eye strain or fatigue – they’re signs of a more serious condition called cybersickness.
Doctors say it’s becoming more common for people to suffer from what they call ‘cybersickness’ after a lot of screen time. It can cause a wide range of problems including nausea, headaches, light-headedness, and even feeling as though the world is moving around you when you’re not.
It can also change how your brain functions and make you less able to focus or control your emotions. These effects are particularly bad for kids, who still have a developing brain.
When you’re in front of a screen, it can take a while for your brain to process all the information it receives. This may lead to nausea, especially if you’re already under the weather or have a full stomach.
You can help avoid this by taking frequent breaks from the screen. You can do this by stepping out of the room, sitting in a different chair or if you have a window, staring at it for a few minutes to let your brain know that you aren’t moving.
Digital motion sickness
While the cause of digital motion sickness isn’t clear, it’s believed to be caused by a conflict in the way your brain processes sensory input. In this case, your eyes detect movement while your body stays still, creating a “visual vestibular conflict” that can trigger nausea, dizziness, and other feelings of motion sickness, says Finn.
If you’re experiencing this, try switching screens and take a walk in the fresh air or do some stretching exercises. Other ways to help combat this include eating a healthy meal before you start working, avoiding foods that are high in sodium or sugar, and getting enough sleep.
As well as affecting your physical health, too much screen time can increase your risk of obesity and heart disease. This is because most screen time is spent sitting or lying down and not moving, which can also lead to a higher intake of calories from unhealthy snacks.
It can also disrupt your sleep patterns, so it’s important to minimise your use of screens before going to bed. The blue light emitted by handheld devices suppresses melatonin, which can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest.
Mental health issues
When your screen time is too long, it can affect your mood and reduce your ability to concentrate. It can also lead to poorer sleep patterns, increased anxiety and depression, and a decreased sense of wellbeing.
Your brain can also be damaged by excessive screen time, according to research. The grey matter in your brain – which helps you focus – can shrink and white matter – which carries signals to the rest of your brain – can deform, leaving you with impaired thinking skills.