Do You Have “Screen Apnea”?

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Chattanooga, Tennessee—(Wise Brother)

Have you ever noticed this happening to you?  “The New York Times” did a big write-up on a hot new term . . . “SCREEN APNEA.”

It’s like sleep apnea, where you stop breathing in your sleep.  Except it happens when you’re too focused on screens.

You don’t stop breathing altogether.  But you might sometimes be holding your breath without realizing it, or just taking shallower breaths.

A Microsoft exec named Linda Stone realized she was doing it in 2007, and coined the term “email apnea.”  But it doesn’t just apply to email, so “screen apnea” is the new term.

She tracked 200 other people’s breathing while they checked their email, and found 80% sometimes held their breath, or altered their breathing.

It’s part of our body’s stress response to any sort of stimuli.  Our nervous system kicks into gear, just in case there’s a threat.  Then our body responds by slowing our breathing to help us focus.

Cats do it too when they’re stalking a bird.  Right before they pounce, they tend to freeze and hold their breath.  And the same thing happens when we get an email, text, or Slack message.

In other words, we’re constantly overstimulated.  And when that happens, we tend to get jumpy.

When it happens too much, it sends our body into a, quote, “chronic state of threat” that leaves us feeling exhausted and drained every day.

Here’s a trick that might help though:  If you catch yourself holding your breath, try SIGHING out loud.  Studies show it might help reset your breathing, and get you to start taking deeper breaths again.

(NY Times)

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