Technology is a wonderful thing, there is no denying it. However, the far-reaching effects of technology are a hot topic of debate right now. Leading scientists have expressed fears about artificial intelligence and what it could mean for the very essence of humanity; the impact of social media on the collective mindset is a cause for discussion; and concern is mounting over the dangers posed by children’s unrestricted access to the internet. All of this had led to a lot of questions being asked yet, surprisingly for a world where you can find information on almost anything through Google, not a lot of answers being given. So next time you’re thumbing through images of little to no relevance on Instagram, or you’ve burrowed your way down a YouTube wormhole and ended up watching videos of funny pandas, think of this. Here are our 5 IDEAL reasons to spend less time on technology.

It’s Giving You Eye Strain

A computer screen isn’t a natural thing for us to look at – evolution is yet to catch up with the ever-changing, ever-flickering screen that we all seem to hold so dear, and close to our face, for so much of the average day. That artificially generated light is unlike anything that you find in nature and it clear is having a big effect on our eyesight. Studies into the way that we look at computer screens show that we blink ten times less than we would normally in order to stop out eyes drying out. 7 out of 10 adults report that they suffer negative effects from eye strain. That doesn’t just include painful or tired eyes, but also headaches and pain in neck and shoulders. If you want a technological solution to the problem of eye strain, you can get pairs of custom glasses with a tinted lens from places like Professional video game players wear them a lot, as they filter out the sections of the light that cause  eye strain, allowing them to maintain eye contact with the screen for much longer.

It’s Messing With Your Sleep

Bad sleeping habits are one of the biggest health problems that we face today and technology is making it far worse. We’re all guilty of sometimes sleeping with our phone too close to us, either on the bedside table or sometimes actually in bed with us. When you look at the screen’s artificial light, especially in the darkness of the night, it tricks your brain. Ordinarily, when it starts to get dark, your brain will release a hormone called melatonin that promotes sleep. But the artificial fools you into thinking that it’s still daytime and you’ll release less of that hormone, making it harder for you to get to sleep. A lack of sleep can affect your physical health as well as your cognitive abilities so it’s vital that you get the recommended amount. Having said that, it’s important to consider the flipside. Technology can, conversely, actually help with your sleep patterns if you’re having problems. There are new products that you can use to track your sleep patterns and help you to identify exactly why you aren’t sleeping properly, and suggest simple solutions to that problem.

It’s Getting In The Way Of Exercise

Advances in technology have led to such increased convenience across daily life that staying in the same spot all day is now a wholly plausible lifestyle choice. Groceries can be ordered at the touch of a button, meaning that short, beneficial stroll to the shops seems silly. Games can be played sitting down, indoors with a controller in your hand, meaning a kickabout in the cold, rainy British weather is the mad man’s option, only. Information is at your fingertips so why walk to the library? With entertainment options so varied, and convenience so, erm, convenient, there’s little onus on us to exercise.

It’s often said that in a  world so obsessed with technological ease, ‘sitting is the new smoking’, and that the modern, sedentary life is killing us. Of course, real smoking is still the most damaging lifestyle choice of so many, so if you need to give up consider nicotine gum, patches or e-cigarettes. Places like supply smokers with the nicotine that they crave, without many of the other harmful chemicals. Studies that have been done so far seem to indicate that it shouldn’t affect your health in the same way that traditional smoking does, so it’s certainly an option to consider.

Equally, there are in fact plenty of ways that technology helps us to stay more active. You can get all sorts of great fitness trackers that link to your phone and help you improve the productivity (and fun) of your workouts. This actually makes the time that people spend exercising far more effective and can aid in weight loss. We all have the choice to use technology to better our health if we just embrace and exploit those at our disposal.

It’s Leading to Bad Posture

We’ve heard much in the press recently about the negative impact on posture that working on computers is having. Sales of orthopaedic chairs are booming as office workers wise up to the risk. Being hunched over the screen causes great strain on your back, neck and shoulders, so be sure to get up and stretch your legs regularly. Even better, consider an adjustable standing desk. This means you’re not committed to standing for 100% of your day, and you can make changes throughout the working day according to how tired your legs are getting.

There’s An Exciting World Out There

While you flick through photos of friends on Instagram in far-flung places, all from the comfort of your sofa in Slough, consider getting out there and seeing the world with your eyes, not the lens of your iPhone camera. It’s beautiful out there; the air is fresh, the colours more vivid than any filter can affect and you’re able to touch, taste and smell in real time. Amazing.
Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.