If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know that they can differ from typical headaches. In addition to pressure in the head, migraine symptoms can include pain behind your eyes, nausea, spotty vision, light sensitivity, vision loss, and vomiting.
Many triggers can cause a migraine, but you may be carrying a trigger without even realizing it, your phone. Think about it, your cell phone goes everywhere with you.
A recent poll reports, on average a person looks at their phone 58 times per day, estimating total average screen time of about 3 hours and 15 minutes. All that screen time increases risk of migraines.
Difficulties Minimizing Phone Use
Everyone obviously wants to avoid migraines, but we all know putting down your phone is easier said than done. Statistics gathered since 2018 show Americans really enjoy using their phones, and they’re only using them more, not less. Furthermore, each time we pick up our phones tends to trigger a chain reaction of more frequent pick ups. Per rescuetime.com, “50% of screen time sessions start within 3 minutes of the previous one.” If each “necessary” pick up was aggregated into one set chunk of time, we would cut our screentime down to 37 minutes, rather than around 3 hours where it now sits.
The reason all of this screen time increases the risk of migraine is two-fold: First, the glare off the screen is caused by the light reflecting off your screen and into your eyes. Those prone to migraines can trace symptoms to this single source. Second, mobile phones emit blue light that is similar to the sun. The blue light from our devices emits blue light at a lower level, but closer proximity and for an extended length of time. This can harm your sleep cycle at night, and can trigger digital eye strain.
Tips To Reduce Your Screen Time
- Use an app that helps manage screen time usage. Preventing the use of your phone throughout the day will likely reduce your screen time overall. Tip: Lock your phone for certain periods of time, or at certain parts of the day.
- Charge your phone in another room. Don’t charge your phone in the room in which you spend your time. For example, try charging outside of your bedroom at night.
- Improve weekly screen time reports. Do you receive weekly screen time reports? What’s your personal best? If you don’t receive them, turn on screen time reports. Every week challenge yourself to reduce average daily, and overall screen time.
Minimize Migraine Occurrences
If you wish to reduce migraines, you must first identify triggers and eliminate them wherever possible. If you frequently get a headache from your phone, but have trouble reducing screen time, there’s still something you can do.
Adjust Screen Settings
Turning on night mode, for example, reduces blue light emitted by the screen. This mode intends to reduce blue light before bed to increase sleepiness at night. Using it regularly, perhaps even during the day, can decrease blue light exposure for your eyes. Another great tip, increase text size. The less you feel the need to look closely, and unblinkingly at your phone, the less potential for triggering migraines and other eye strain symptoms.
Consider Protective Lenses
GUNNAR computer glasses protect your eyes from both the glare and the blue light from cell phones. Different levels of protection ranging from 10% all the way up to 98% exist. I personally have found blue light blocking glasses to be a huge relief on my eyes which is why I am an advocate for protective eyewear. Wearing protective lenses throughout the day helps to reduce eye strain and support your eye muscles focusing power. You just have to find the right protection level for your needs.
Taking Control of Your Digital Life
The trick isn't to eliminate cell phone use altogether (a near impossible feat!), but just be aware of when and how often you are using it. Don't get caught down a digital rabbit hole, be the master of your devices. Employ the advice offered here and track your migraines to see what works best for you.
Overall, one of the best things you can do for your digital health is protect your eyes. Learn more about how to protect yourself with GUNNAR, and how blue light glasses not only curb migraines, but help promote eye health.