« Deep Thoughts with Jake Kelly

ABOUT YOUR CELL PHONE?.... YEAH, IT CAN GIVE YOU ACNE.... NOT TO MENTION A SAGGY JAW AND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

by Jake Kelly

1. The average handset has more germs than a toilet.
2. Leaning over to use your smartphone can lead to a squashed spine
3. Other problems include trouble sleeping, poor hearing and saggy jaw

RUINING YOUR EYES

If your eyes feel sore after staring at your phone, you won't be surprised to learn that focusing on a small object for a long time can cause dry eyes, which can lead to inflammation and infection.

Even more worryingly, phones could be affecting children's eyesight in the long-term. One doctor says it is possible that youngsters who stare at screens all day could be near-sighted as they grow up.

There's also research to suggest that using smartphones could leave us needing glasses sooner.

The solutionEnlarge the size of the text on your phone, and to avoid glare, try to use your phone in a well-lit room and don't use it for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Finally, as screen time has already been linked to a number of health problems in children aside from vision, including obesity and heart problems, restrict it. 

SQUASHING THE SPINE

Our smartphones are changing our posture. 'Our bodies are a product of what we do on a daily basis.'

One doctor sees "far more people with pain in their neck or shoulders. We tend to poke our heads forward when we're reading something on a phone or tablet. This position squashes the top of your spine and compresses the nerves that go up to your head. The result can be headaches and feeling tired and stiff.'

The solution: Invest in a hands-free kit. Try exercises to lengthen your neck muscles, such as imagining a string pulling you up from the middle of your head to help you improve your posture. 

GIVING YOU SAGGY JAW

Excessive phone use could change the definition of your jawline.

'As we age, our skin's elasticity decreases and it's feasible that bending our neck forward for hours on end to look at smartphones and tablets may mean there is more of a downwards tug on the delicate skin.'

The solutionTry holding your phone or tablet straight out in front of you, rather than below chest level, so you're not constantly looking downwards. 

CAUSING SPOTS

Considering how hot phone screens get after a long call, it's no surprise that some experts are concerned they can give you pimples or sweat rash.

Which? magazine carried out tests on a sample of 30 mobile phones and discovered that, on average, a handset had 18 times more harmful germs on it than the flush handle in a men's lavatory.

The solution: If you're prone to spots, use a hands-free kit and wipe your phone with a saline solution.

DAMAGING YOUR HEARING

'Playing music through headphones too loud can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which can make it difficult to hear speech, especially when there's background noise."

'Many standard-issue headphones don't fit the ear properly resulting in a leakage of sound, so we feel we have to turn up the volume.

The solution: Bespoke headphones, but even then, always keep sound levels as low as you can and don't listen for too long.

STOPPING YOU SLEEPING

Computers, laptops, tablets and phones tend to give off a blue light, thought to interfere with the natural hormones, such as melatonin, which help us to sleep.

The solution: Research from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona suggests that dimming the brightness settings on your phone and holding it at least 14in from your face while using it will reduce its potential to impede sleep. Better yet, buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave your phone outside your bedroom at night. 

RUINING RELATIONSHIPS

'Technology can make it hard to manage boundaries in our lives.'

'So if we're on our phone, we don't give our full attention to those we're physically with. Research also suggests the more engaged we are in social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, the more lonely we can become as family, friends and work relationships suffer.'

The solution: Have a strict rule that there are no phones at the dinner table or when you're out socially.