Ever increasing screen time and migraine

When I was at an American Booksellers Association conference in January, I attended a seminar on consumers’ book buying behavior. Note: this is of immense interest to me since I own a bookstore. I realize this is not that thrilling for you all so I’ll keep it to the basics that relate to health.

Ahem. So I’ll continue.

The presenter was telling us booksellers that we don’t need to focus so much on ebook versus paper book sales. Rather, we need to consider what people are choosing to do in their leisure time. He held up his smart phone and, after a few comments about how much time we used to spend reading that we now spend with technology.

I considered this question from a bookseller’s perspective, of course, but in the weeks since the presentation I’ve been focused as much or more on the health ramifications of this. I now own a handful of computers (two for work, one for home), an iPhone, and iPod Touch, an iPod Shuffle, and an iPad. I also have cable TV. I spend hours upon hours each day staring at screens. Instead of reading for a couple of hours a day, I check email just one last time before bed and and up messing around on my iPhone before I even think about picking up a book.

I already know that looking at screens before bed can affect people’s sleep. It’s best to try to stick with our natural circadian rhythm and limit screen time before bedtime. We migraineurs whose attacks are triggered by flickering lights and fluorescents should probably exercise even more caution than the regular Joe Schmo, yet I do not follow my own advice.

How have you adapted to this age when we are in front of screens all day? Do you notice any vision, migraine, or headache issues that seem to be related to your increase in screen time? What do you do to make sure interactions with computers, smart phones, and TVs don’t take up too much of your day?

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