The more time you spend in front of your computer screen, the more likely you are to suffer from a range of physical, mental and sleep-related problems, say Japanese researchers.
Many people easily spend up to eight hours a day at a computer, yet there is little information on how long a person can safely use a computer each day.
Dr Tetsuya Nakazawa of Chiba University and colleagues decided to investigate by surveying 25 000 office workers who completed three questionnaires between 1995 and 1997.
Back pain, headaches, eyestrain and insomnia common
The study participants answered questions about the amount of time they spent in front of a computer screen, their sleep habits, and physical and mental problems including headache, back pain, eyestrain, depression and anxiety. Their findings are published in the October issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
The researchers found a significant relationship between duration of daily computer use and physical symptoms, even after adjusting for factors that could influence the results.
Office workers stuck in front of a computer most commonly complained of headaches, eyestrain, joint pain and stiff shoulders.
Workers who spent more than five hours a day glued to their computer screen also complained of lethargy, anxiety and sleep-related problems including insomnia and fatigue.
Restrict computer use to five hours a day
The researchers suggest that for the prevention of mental disorders and sleep disorders, computer use should be restricted to less than five hours per day.
The researchers also called for more research into the relationship between computer use and physical, mental and sleep symptoms. – (Health24)