Fatigue With Headache from Too Much Screen Time. How to Fight It?

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Escaping screens is easier said than done. They are everywhere, and most people still have trouble spending less time looking at one, even if they decide to watch less TV, or cut down on the time they spend scrolling through social media. Reducing screen time is one of the attainable resolutions if you put your mind to it. However, too much screen time comes at a price. Research shows that an incredible 89% of people experience adverse effects from screen time, with the leading one being fatigue with headache.

What Are the Common Symptoms of too Much Screen Time?

Excessive time spent looking at screens can present a variety of symptoms. There is no one common symptom of this issue. Sometimes it can manifest as flu-like symptoms, body aches, sleep apnea, migraine symptoms, and other symptoms

Fatigue with Headache

Too much screen time can cause fatigue with headaches in several different ways. Screen time is known to disrupt melatonin production and the production of a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which supports sleep and reduces stress levels. On the other hand, it increases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol can disrupt sleep, and leave you feeling drained and exhausted.

Eye Strain

Digital eye strain is incredibly common, and it causes issues such as blurry vision, eye dryness and even migraine headaches with aura. There are multiple culprits for this condition – blue light emitted by screens, continual staring at the same distance, and constant focusing and refocusing of the eye. This happens because the human eye has difficulty staying focused on pixels. Eye strain is usually temporary, but it can cause permanent eye damage over time. What starts as a simple inconvenience can become a chronic disorder.

Neck and Back Problems

You wouldn’t expect sedentary jobs to come with joint pain, would you? Tech neck is a condition that might have a funny name, but the condition itself is not funny at all.

Screen time is a major cause of pain in the neck and back. Working on a computer usually means sitting for long stretches of time, usually while looking slightly down at the screen. This can cause deformations of the spine and poor posture.

According to doctors, tilting your head forward while working on your computer, can put the equivalent of 60 pounds worth of strain on your neck.


Screen time causing insomnia and subsequent fatigue is not just a myth. The rhythm of your daily life is governed by circadian rhythm. That is the natural sleep-wake pattern that relies on changes in natural life.

Blue light is prevalent in nature during the middle part of the day. Those blue frequencies of sunlight signal to the hypothalamus in the brain that you should be alert. As the sun goes down, the wavelengths of its rays change and red and near infrared frequencies become prevalent. This triggers the secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

When you get too much blue light, especially late in the day or in the evening this cycle gets disrupted. That can lead to common symptoms such as insomnia, sleep disorders and disruptions, and, subsequently, fatigue.

How Can You Fight Fatigue With Headache From too Much Screen Time?

It’s not always possible to cut back on screen time enough to make a difference and escape fatigue with headache. So, what other strategies can you employ to offset the health problems caused by excessive screen time?

Protective Glasses

Blue light glasses might sound like a gimmick, but they are not. The lenses on these glasses are created specifically so that they filter out blue light.

Glasses with the tint FL-41 go a step further, blocking out both blue and green wavelengths. These have proved effective for patients who suffer from migraine headaches caused by light sensitivity.

The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule is recommended by ophthalmologists to prevent excessive eye strain. The rule states that you should look at something 20 feet away from you for twenty seconds after every twenty minutes you spend looking at a screen.

This technique won’t help with every type of severe fatigue. Still, evidence suggests it can help alleviate common symptoms reported of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), such as blurred vision, eye dryness, and neck and back pain.

Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is a form of light therapy or photobiomodulation. They usually have LED light emitting diodes that emit light from the red and near infrared spectrum. Nowadays, red light devices are portable and available for home use. They can produce excellent results in neutralizing the effects of blue light from too much screen time and fighting off your chronic fatigue syndrome.

How Does Red Light Therapy Help with Screen Time Fatigue with Headache?

Red light therapy is a completely non-invasive form of treatment and it directly targets the effects of the light emitted from screens. It combats both aspects of the problem when it comes to fatigue with headaches – boosting your energy levels and warding off headaches through two different mechanisms.

Regulation of the Circadian Rhythm

In nature, red and near infrared light from the sun regulate the human sleep-wake cycles by triggering the pineal gland in the brain to produce a sleep hormone called melatonin.

On the other hand, blue light signals to the brain that it’s time to wake up, and it stimulates the secretion of cortisol to wake you up, and ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Blue light in nature gives way to red light at dusk.

However, screens may stimulate the production of cortisol and ghrelin, and delay the production of melatonin, resulting in disrupted sleep patterns and late night hunger, which might lead to weight gain.

Red light therapy neutralizes the effects of blue light, and sends the correct message to the brain – to secrete the sleep hormone. By regulating melatonin levels and the circadian rhythm, red light therapy solves insomnia as well as issues of chronic fatigue syndrome that come with it.

Support for the Powerhouse of the Cell

Whether we feel energized or fatigued starts on a cellular level. Human cells are not able to use energy straight from the food that you eat. Instead, each cell transforms glucose from food into a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When the cell needs to spend energy to be able to function properly, it breaks the bonds that bind this molecule together, and energy is released during that process.

A person’s overall energy levels are highly dependent on the efficacy of this entire process, which takes place in cellular organelles called the mitochondria. If the mitochondria are not healthy, this might lead to feelings of fatigue, and down the line, even to chronic mitochondrial disease.

Mitochondrial dysfunction and fatigue have a very strong correlation. Depending on the scale used, anywhere from 71 to a full 100% of patients suffering from mitochondrial dysfunction report frequent feelings of fatigue.

Red light therapy supports the protein that has a primary role in ATP production in the mitochondria. It also helps regulate the levels of free radicals in the mitochondria, promoting cellular health, prolonging cell life and boosting mitochondrial proliferation. All of this contributes to higher and more efficient energy production and greater overall energy levels in the body.

How to Use Red Light Therapy for Screen Time Fatigue with Headache?

Red light therapy for screen time fatigue and headaches gives the best results if used daily. For regulation of sleep patterns, it’s best to use it in the evening so it can neutralize the effects of blue light and trigger the secretion of melatonin in the hypothalamus.

Red light treatments have no side effects, and don’t damage the skin, so there are no disadvantages to everyday use.