We all know that less screen time is usually better for you than more, but what about your phone killing you softly?
It does sound a bit far fetched. Researchers from Oregon State University have some data to back up the claim, however.
Scientists have discovered that the more you are exposed to so-called blue light, the shorter your life may be. Blue light emanates from things like your phone, your computer and even household lights. And it doesn’t have to shine all the way into your eyes to have an effect on you.
Researchers focused on fruit flies and how they responded to different types of lighting, in the study. Obviously humans are quite different from simple fruit flies, but these were the results.
The flies that were exposed to blue light had damage to their retinal cells, as well as to their brain neurons. They also had some impaired locomotion and could no longer climb the walls of their enclosures as they used to.
Related: Why Sitting is Not the New Smoking
Scientists think it’s all connected to our circadian rhythms and stress responses. Genes that protect us from stress were expressed in the flies when they were exposed to full, natural light. When they were over-exposed to blue light however, this seemed to damage the genes’ ability to respond.
So, if you have to spend your day inside looking at a screen, what’s the best answer? Wear amber glasses that filter the blue light to help protect your retinas. You can also look into setting your devices to block emitting blue light.
“In the future, there may be phones that auto-adjust their display based on the length of usage the phone perceives,” said the study’s lead author Trevor Nash. “That kind of phone might be difficult to make, but it would probably have a big impact on health.”
For more on this study, click here. To block blue light emissions on your device, Google the instructions. They’re surprisingly easy to follow.