With the advancement of age, there is a significant spike in technology and how people have readily made it an important part of their lives. It so happens that people’s lives are impossible to even imagine without technology and its handmaid, social media.
Sometimes, people are so addicted to the novelty of technology that they cannot part from them in an entire day. When that happens, at some point, people will feel some sort of discomfort and nausea upon using technology for a significant period. This discomfort is also called cybersickness.
Imagine yourself standing in the interior cabin of a ship where your body is constantly in motion as the ship sways slightly from side to side. As your body is moving, your eyes do not feel any actual movement. Due to this contradiction in the senses, you instantly suffer from motion sickness. Similar to motion sickness you commonly experience when you are traveling in a car on the highway or in an airplane, cybersickness occurs when you are constantly stuck in front of your mobile or laptop, doom scrolling your way through life.
What is cyber sickness exactly?
If you are traveling in a car, boat, airplane, or bus, you might feel some sort of dizziness, discomfort, nausea, or even discomfort. This is called, as mentioned earlier, motion sickness. It occurs when your body and its fluids have lost balance due to some external stimulus.
One of the major causes of cybersickness, like motion sickness, is when your senses send conflicting signals to your brain and there is an imbalance of fluids. Generally, your senses indicate where you are and what you are doing to your brain. Now, when these senses send contradictory information to your brain, you are bound to feel some sort of discomfort and nausea. It generally occurs when you are on your mobile, computer, while you are using multiple screens or when you are attending virtual meetings constantly.
With the onset of a pandemic, people have shifted towards the virtual way of working, where important meetings and conferences are held online. This forces one to constantly stick in front of a gadget. Consequently, people are now suffering from cybersickness more than they were before.
The only difference between cybersickness and motion sickness is that the latter involves some physical movement whereas the former faces a complete absence of it. In cybersickness, the symptoms are set off based on how you perceive your surroundings after constantly using the technology.
Virtual reality and cybersickness:
Not only does cybersickness occur when you are using any gadget constantly, but it also occurs, perhaps more, when you are immersing yourself in virtual reality, that is, when you are using any headsets, 3-D video, or complicated graphics. Due to this, virtual reality sickness is also called cybersickness.
What are the causes of cybersickness?
As mentioned earlier, cybersickness is caused due to the poor functioning of the senses which give contradictory information to your brain. These include the visual senses aided by what your eyes tell your brain, your hearing senses which depend upon what your inner ear tells, and the proprioceptive system, that is, the sensory receptors of your body and what they feel and tell you.
For instance, if you are constantly typing on your laptop, your sensory receptors will feel the physical movement. However, your eyes may not be able to feel any kind of physical activity. This contradiction leads to an imbalance in your brain, resulting in cybersickness.
What are the symptoms of cybersickness?
Here are some commonly experienced symptoms of cybersickness.
Nausea is one of the most common symptoms of cybersickness. The situation is generally worsened when you just had your lunch or dinner and when there is a strong pervasive smell in the room. Sometimes, it is even aggravated by vomiting.
Dizziness often occurs when you are working for long periods in front of a screen. So much so, that it also leaves you disoriented and distracted. More often than not, it can also make you lightheaded, making you feel as if your entire room is spinning.
This is also one of the common symptoms and an obvious one. If you are going to use gadgets for significant period for a prolonged period, you are going to strain your eyes, which can cause excessive dryness, irritation, and blurry vision.
If you are going to strain your eyes by looking in front of a gadget, you will also face some sort of discomfort in your neck and shoulders. Consequently, you will also experience a headache which can be accompanied by other symptoms such as drowsiness, flushing, and sweating.
What is the treatment for cybersickness?
To treat cybersickness, you need to get a break from all the gadgets that you have been using throughout your day. Rest for a while and if possible, not touch any gadget at all. However, to not allow cybersickness to kick in again, here are some of the points to keep in mind;
- Try to reduce your overall screen time.
- Try to take frequent breaks from your work. If possible, stretch and exercise as it will help rest your eyes and lubricate your joints.
- Borrow 20 seconds from your work and look outside your window or just close your eyes.
- Try and avoid using multiple screens at a time.
- If possible, choose audio presentations over video presentations. However, even in audio, make sure you are not using earphones constantly, as it will impair your hearing ability.
- You can also opt for printed paperbacks over choosing audio or visual books.
- If possible, you can also write notes with the help of your hands and avoid using your laptop or phone.
- You can reduce the speed and time spent on doom scrolling
- You can turn off pop-ups and notifications
- If possible, try and eat light foods. Avoid eating heavy foods when you know that you will be spending a significant amount of time in front of your laptop.
- Always open the windows of your room or keep your door open to allow ventilation, as it can save you from strong odors.
- While you travel in a car, bus or, any moving vehicle, avoiding spending much time on your screen.
However, due to certain unavoidable circumstances, sometimes you are forced to attend online classes or meetings. Under such situations, you can use over-the-counter motion sickness medications. You can also take long deep breaths to control nausea whenever cybersickness creeps in. Hope this helps you in some or the other way!!