Shut Off Your Screen for Health

woman looking at cell phone

Screens are part of daily life. Many people spend hours each day on computers, on phones, on tablets, and watching television. Too much screen time can lead to negative health effects.

Watching television for hours leads to sedentary activity and increases the risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Spending time on social media decreases social connections with others, raises feelings of loneliness, and increases risk of depression. Too much screen time also causes eye strain due to long periods of blue light exposure, which may cause headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, and lower melatonin levels. Melatonin helps the body feel tired and ready for sleep.

We can’t get rid of all screens, but we can take steps to limit our time on them. Use these tips to reduce your screen time.

  1. Limit screens outside of work or school to 2–4 hours or less per day. Consider using time limit controls on your devices.
  2. Take frequent breaks from screens throughout the day. You can download a free app,, to remind you to do so.
  3. Make time to be active and spend time outside when Iowa weather is nice.
  4. Avoid screens during mealtimes.
  5. Shut off screens for at least an hour before bedtime.

Association between screen time and depression among US adults,
Television Watching and Other Sedentary Behaviors in Relation to Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women,
Sleep Foundation,

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