Written and Media by Baylen Whitfield.
We live in an era where it seems as if an individual must be either tech savvy or up to date with just about all forms of media. Just about the entire world relies on media at some point throughout their day, week, or lifetime. Some would claim they only use it to communicate and stay up to date with family and friends many miles away, and other individuals would claim, and even admit, they wouldn’t be able to survive without digital media because they literally survive off it. For them media in some way or fashion is their source of income. They may make videos for YouTube, work for Google, work in a social media marketing field, or simply using media to help operate their business by constantly staying touch with much needed employees. For example, the owner of the valet company I work for stated to me once that he doesn’t think he’d be able to successfully operate his business without the constant use of his iPhone. His claim was that it makes communication much easier and more efficient when it comes to sending out schedules, mass text messages, or quickly calling employees to help with filling a shift at the last minute because of someone else’s emergency. Constantly being hooked to a cell phone and media is understandable in situations such as that, especially when you have to continuously be in contact with 20 of your valets. But what does all the time we spend saturated in media and hooked to our devices do to our bodies?
According to Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of medicine, there are various effects that the screens from our devices, such as smartphones and laptops, have on our bodies. The loss of sleep is a major effect that screens from our devices have on our bodies. Dr. Siegel states in his YouTube video that the photons of light from our screens basically tell our brains not to secrete melatonin. With as much time as people spend on their devices, especially before bed, texting, emailing, and checking Facebook and other media sites, this could lead to many problems in relation to our health. Siegel goes on to discuss how with the research acquired over time about sleep we now know that sleep allows our active neurons to rest, which is good, but since many of us aren’t getting enough sleep because we’re hooked to our devices, the supportive cells, called glial cells, are cleaning up the toxins that the neurons produced. Siegel then states, “…and if you don’t get from 7-9 hours of sleep and you just get 5, the toxins remain there for over 95 percent of people.” Aside from causing the connection of cells in the body to be toxic, not of getting proper rest and instead having the toxins remain for the supportive cells to clean up, results in problems such as, making an individual’s attention falter, impaired memory, insulin problems that makes an individual more likely to gain weight, and making one’s ability to critically think much more challenging.
Dr. Siegel’s research causes many to feel strongly about taking breaks from media and our devices. Simply prioritizing our time spent saturated in media and hooked to our devices will allow people to live much healthier lives and allow them to actually connect with the world around them rather than claiming to be connected when they’re really separated by distance and screens. So many, including myself, spend too much time looking down at a screen and I feel it’s time to change that.
Check out the video below for more about how media impacts our lives!