‘Screen apnea’, sounds strange, but this is a symptom many people have when sitting in front of a computer screen.
Former Microsoft executive Linda Stone found that every time she sat down at her laptop and opened her inbox, she found her breathing was very shallow and almost held her breath. This worries Linda Stone because she practices breathing every morning.
So Ms. Stone then conducted her own informal research. She invited 200 relatives to her home, had them check email on their computers, and monitored their heart and breathing rates.
As a result, she noted that when viewing emails, about 80% of participants frequently stopped breathing or had changes in breathing. She described her findings in an article in the Huffington Post and dubbed the phenomenon “email apnea.”
Ms. Stone later renamed it “screen apnea” to refer to the shortness of breath many people experience when doing all kinds of work in front of a computer screen.
As explained by Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina who specializes in the nervous system, “screen apnea” is a manifestation of the human body’s stress response.
When faced with any type of stimulus, our nervous system focuses on finding out whether it is a threat or not. This requires great mental effort, and then to “calm down” the body a series of physiological changes including shallower breathing and a slowing of the heart rate will take place.
Although these reflexes are sometimes not harmful. But if they’re “on” all day, every day, and it shifts the “nervous system into a chronic threat state,” it becomes a problem.
Dr. David Spiegel, director of the Center for Stress and Health at Stanford Medicine, recommends that one of the causes of screen apnea is sitting in front of a computer screen for too long.
According to Mr. Nestor, you must first be aware of your condition to be able to escape it, by checking yourself to see if you are breathing through your mouth (often a sign of shallow breathing).
If you find yourself breathing shallowly, take a deep breath and sigh out loud for a quick and easy way to reset your breathing pattern and improve your mood.
The larger the screen, the less mental stress it causes, according to Dr. Porges. So try to work on your computer screen instead of your phone.