Here's How I (Finally) Got My Technology-Induced Migraines To Go Away
Ray Bass is the associate movement and wellness editor at mindbodygreen and a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Pennsylvania, with honors in nonfiction.
For as long as I can remember, I've had a computer at my fingertips. Whether it was the clunky desktop computer I used to write songs and draw on Microsoft Paint, my first MacBook in college, or my iPhone, I loved being online, and I really loved the internet.
Back then we still had parental controls—I was only allowed on AIM for so long before the timer, or my parents, would kick me off. Today, there is no limit to how much time we spend on our phones, unless we set it ourselves. And I don't know about you, but I find that kind of terrifying.
Now that I work in social media, I'm on my phone all day. Yes, all day. Every minute of my weekdays is spent on my phone for work or on my phone for "pleasure"—though now that I'm on Instagram 40 hours a week for work, I try to make the most of the time I spend away from it by not going on my personal account. The upside, of course, is that I love the mbg community, and running the social team means I'm the one speaking directly to our readers—all 4 million of them across platforms. It still blows my mind.
How constant technology and social media use can make us feel sick.
But being on my phone or laptop all the time has come with some unsavory side effects (which I'm happy to say I've managed to mitigate quite a bit) that you too might experience if you spend a ton of time on your phone. Do migraines, dizziness, strained eyes, or worsening vision ring a bell? Not to mention all the studies that have come out about the negative psychological impact of social media. It can make you feel lonely or make us make bad decisions. In fact, "Technology Becomes the Next Big Tobacco" was one of mindbodygreen's "Wellness Trends to Watch In 2018." On the flip side, taking breaks from social media, detoxing from it, or being mindful about our use can change our lives for the better.
If you're like me, you've probably Googled how to nix symptoms, probably tried a few holistic remedies, and probably came up short. Carrots are not really my thing (you know, the whole vitamin A and vision connection) and "exercising" my eyes just sounds like more exercise, which I'm unlikely to actually commit to long-term. I even keep my phone and computer brightness on the lowest setting, but that hasn't helped much. The one thing that has actually helped my symptoms, specifically any headaches or migraines I've gotten, has been blue-light-filtering glasses.
Why blue-light-blocking glasses were the answer to my migraines.
The irony is that you've probably seen these glasses on Instagram. Blue-light-filter glasses brands are popping up left and right—Pixel Eyewear, Felix Gray, and even trendy sunglasses brands like Quay Australia have come out with blue-light counterparts.
Even after reading about them, I was skeptical that clear glasses would really make a difference. And yet, I'm wearing them as I write this piece, and I wear them almost every day now. These glasses take the edge off the harsh light that comes from my computer and phone. I also found that they ease my dizziness—I spend a lot of time constantly looking from my laptop to desktop, to work phone to social phone, and most days it leaves me lightheaded. Whatever the technology behind the lens of these glasses, they've definitely helped me feel less nauseous and allowed me to focus on my tasks.
In a perfect world, we would all spend less time on our phones and computers and more time with our families, doing some self-care, or spending time outside. But for some folks, that isn't always an option, so I'm happy that there are companies out there making products to reduce the negative impact technology has on our health. If you haven't tried blue-light-filtering glasses yet, I recommend getting a pair and seeing if they work for you! If not, you can always try the f.lux app on your computer or a blue-light-filtering cover for your phone screen—needless to say, I'm getting both.
Ray Bass is the associate movement and wellness editor at mindbodygreen and a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Pennsylvania, with honors in nonfiction. A runner, yogi, boxer, and cycling devotee, Bass searches for the hardest workouts in New York (and the best ways to recover from them). She's debunked myths about protein, posture, and the plant-based diet, and has covered everything from the best yoga poses for chronic pain to the future of fitness, recovery, and America's obsession with the Whole30 diet.