The nation’s workers are jeopardising their sleep quality by spending 85 per cent of their waking hours staring at screens.
New research, found that UK workers are spending an average of 13 hours and 34 minutes a day looking at screens while at work, commuting and at home*. Surprisingly, employees are spending an average of 55 hours 36 minutes a month staring at a screen while commuting, when they could be giving their eyes a much-needed rest.
The study revealed that engineers are the professionals that spend the most time staring at a screen throughout their day. On average, engineers are looking at screens for 7 hours and 16 minutes at work, 5 hours and 22 minutes while commuting and 6 hours and 3 minutes while at home.
The top five professions that are spending the most time looking at screens throughout the day are: Engineer (18 hours 40 minutes); IT Specialist (18 and a half hours); Accountant (13 hours 20 minutes); Teacher (12 hours 27 minutes); Admin Staff (9 hours 28 minutes)
Research has found that excessive blue light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, more than any other type of light.
It’s no surprise then that engineers are also the profession whose sleep suffers the most, with 72 per cent agreeing that too much screen time during the day affects their sleep. They were followed by two thirds (66 per cent) of IT specialists, nearly half (45 per cent) of teachers, two fifths (40 per cent) of accountants and just over a third (34 per cent) of admin staff saying that too much screen time affects their sleep.
It seems that it is not only sleep that is affected by a high amount of screen time. According to the research, employees blame issues like headaches, dry eyes and stress or anxiety on too much screen time.
The top five complaints employees have experienced as a result of too much screen time are: Tired eyes/eye strain (59 per cent); Headaches (40 per cent); Dry eyes (37 per cent); Disturbed sleep (31per cent); Stress/anxiety (17per cent)
Sundeep Vaswani, Eye Sciences Clinical Research Associate at Optegra, said,
The amount of time people spend looking at screens throughout their day is very worrying. Optometrists are noticing an increase in tech-related eye strain and looking at the results of our research, this is no surprise. It is very important that if you are spending a lot of time on screens, whether it be for work or at home, you take lots of frequent breaks. Looking at something 20 metres away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes is a great way to make sure you are giving your eyes the rest they need.
*conducted by Optegra
Interested in workplace wellbeing? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.