E-mail is a relatively innocuous yet omnipresent thing in most of our lives. It beats snail mail, right? The ability to instantly send someone a message is convenient and has made scheduling and organizing things far easier than it ever was before. It has even made travel faster thanks to airlines swapping to sending people emails with flight code to travelers that mean they never have to worry about losing a few small pieces of paper. What isn’t to like about it? As useful as e-mails are, they are actually a health risk if you’re indulging in them too freely. It has nothing to do with them directly, but the indirect effects are potentially wide-reaching and long-lasting. Don’t panic yet, but do keep reading as we go over some of the health hazards associated with e-mails and less than balanced lifestyles.
Never Enough Time
A big part of the convenience of e-mails is also what makes them potentially hazardous. Anyone can reach you anywhere and anywhen they want. That’s more than a little unsettling in its own right. Combine this with the fact that people can set alerts for when an e-mail is read and you’ve got a situation where you end up feeling compelled to respond immediately and act on the information. That really isn’t the healthiest approach for us at the best of time. It is especially unhealthy when it comes to work. All those alerts you might get well into the night jolt your brain and keep you running at full speed when you need to be letting your brain calm down. You stay stressed rather than having the time to stop, relax, and enjoy your life. All that stress eventually starts to add up and can result in both mental and physical illness.
Do You Really Need Sleep?
Those alerts aren’t just keeping you stressed though. Most of us get our e-mail alerts through our smartphones these days and our smartphones almost never leave our sides. That’s why it is so easy to reach us. The downside to all this is that we are very aware when we’re getting alerts unless our phones are set to be absolutely silent. Alerts in turn, as highlighted before, key up our brains and prime us to go do things. This isn’t conducive to getting much sleep. In fact, alerts past a certain point at night are almost assured to disrupt your sleep cycle as your brain’s inability to find the time to wind down gets increasing disrupted. That’s why most sleep experts advise turning your phone off or to silent past a certain point at night. Keeping your evenings calm and smooth will help avoid disruptions so that you can maintain a comparatively natural sleep cycle.
Blue Light and Blurred Eyes
Most of us check our emails by using our eyes. That’s where our next problem comes in and you can be jealous of your blind friend with a screen reader. These days the screens of most of our monitors and our smartphones are LCD at the very least. All such screens and those better than them tend to produce a calm, blue light. That’s not helping you sleep any easier than the alerts from your phone. In fact, it may be entirely sabotaging your attempts to sleep. Another big issue is that your eyes do get strained from looking at a screen for too long. This is doubly so when you’re reading on a small screen like a smartphone. You can counter the effects some by turning up the font and icon sizes, but it does still cause some degree of strain by comparison to larger devices. The key to solving this is simply to remember to take breaks every so often so that your eyes have time to relax. That will at least help you avoid blurred vision.
E-mail may be useful, but it can be a pain in all the wrong ways if we’re not careful. The overexposure to alerts and screens is hurting our overall health. We can work against it all easily enough though. Taking time away from our devices is typically enough to avoid all of these problems. Set a cutoff point in the evening past which you turn off all your alerts and quit reading e-mails. You’ll likely feel a lot happier and rested as well as a lot less stressed within a few days.