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There’s no denying that this generation spends a lot of time inside. We work from home, study online and build relationships through social media. You might be finding that you are having headaches more often. Is sitting inside all day the cause of this?
Sitting inside all day can cause headaches due to more screen use, digital eye strain, less fresh air, and little physical exercise. Sitting stationary and hunching for extended time periods causes tension headaches. A lack of fresh air causes sick building syndrome resulting in prolonged headaches.
There isn’t one simple answer as to why we often get headaches when sitting inside all day. It depends on your personal situations, for which there can be many contributing factors.
Can being indoors cause headaches?
While working, studying, and exercising at home can have its perks, when we put it into perspective, sitting inside all day is extremely unnatural. As humans, we were born to enjoy all the botanical elements of nature!
But these days, there are plenty of people who are disconnected from the environment. Our homes are so comfortable that we don’t want to leave. And when we do, we don’t walk, we hop straight into our car and drive there.
More health issues are developing in people who do not go outdoors enough. This includes respiratory illnesses, eyesight development issues, vitamin deficiencies, psychological impacts, and painful headaches.
Sitting inside all day can have many negative impacts, especially when staring at screens and having a lack of fresh air and vitamin D. Alongside fatigue and back pain, headaches are a very common condition that many of us will experience when spending too much time indoors. These headaches can continue for multiple days.
Sitting around all day may cause positional headaches
Whether we are working or relaxing, most of us will be sitting at a desk or on a couch when we spend time indoors. This can sometimes create a positional headache. Many of us don’t have the ideal office setup at home and this alone can result in poor posture. If we are sitting in this constant position throughout the day or week, there is a high chance that this can create a tension-type headache. Particularly when looking at a laptop as we are more inclined to hunch forward!
A tension headache can be a mild, moderate, or intense pain that occurs in your head, forehead, and neck. Stress and tension on your scalp and neck muscles are the main cause of this headache. Hunching over and forward, as we often do whilst using screens, creates this tension.
Can too much screen time give you a headache?
It’s no secret that we spend way too much time looking at screens. Whether we’re working at the office, watching tv at home, or scrolling through Facebook, most of us probably need to cut down our screen time. According to a survey done by Reviews.org, we are estimated to spend around 17 years of our lives looking at phones. Despite the outdoor opportunities throughout Australia, the survey discovered that the average Aussie spends 5.5 hours a day on their phone!
In recent years, digital eye strain has become increasingly common. This is an eye and vision related condition that is caused by spending too much time looking at digital screens. Due to the high visual demands, the eyes work harder when concentrating on a computer, phone or TV. This may cause vision-related symptoms which can ultimately result in a headache or migraine.
Next time you’re debating between going for a walk or pulling out your device, think about the negatives of watching a movie on your phone.
Can a lack of physical activity cause headaches and migraines?
Being inside all day can result in a lack of exercise, especially for those who work from home and do not leave the building for many hours or perhaps days! According to a study by Swedish researchers, headaches were strongly linked with physical inactivity. This proves that we sometimes underestimate the importance of a daily walk.
When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins. These are known as our ‘natural’ painkillers which can reduce stress and help us to sleep better. By exercising regularly, you may be able to reduce both the frequency and intensity of a headache or migraine. Don’t forget to grab your KN95 facemasks before venturing out on a daily walk!
Migraines are often linked to a lack of sunlight and low vitamin D
Low sunlight exposure is known to be linked with vitamin D deficiency, especially for those who spend most of their time indoors, with little daylight. People who have a lack of natural sunlight may experience vitamin D deficiency through symptoms such as back pain, tiredness and frequent headaches. Additionally, sitting in a dark building with limited sun can often make people turn to artificial lighting or TV screens. This can also increase the chances of enduring eye strain and head tensions!
Can a lack of fresh air cause headaches?
Headaches can sometimes be due to a lack of fresh air. This is often referred to as “sick building syndrome” and can be caused by a variety of factors. Many of these factors appear to be linked to spending too much time in one living environment. Poor ventilation is one of the main causes of SBS, so it’s super important that you frequently open windows or doors.
You can also invest in some houseplants to boost the fresh oxygen surrounding you. There are so many benefits of having indoor plants!
Bacteria, moulds, viruses, and pollen are common indoor allergens that can be found in every household or building. People often forget that pollutants are everywhere! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are living in a dirty environment, sometimes it’s quite the opposite! Cleaning products, candles, perfumes, and fragranced air fresheners all contain chemicals that can trigger headaches. Although these strong-smelling products appear to make your home feel ‘fresh’, they may be the single reason as to why you are susceptible to headaches.
Can using too many cleaning products give you headaches?
You can get a scent-related headache from cleaning products. We all use surface spray, toilet bleach and dishwashing liquid within our homes. Although these products are what make our environments feel clean and fresh, you may want to reduce the amount that you use if you are prone to scent related headaches. It’s also super important to open windows or doors when using strong chemicals or heavily scented products.
Can burning candles cause a headache?
Whether it’s fresh and floral or sweet and spicy, we all love to burn heavily scented candles throughout our home. However, it isn’t always as sweet as it smells. This common ritual may contribute to the contamination impurities throughout your living environment. Sometimes, a person may be allergic to the chemicals that create strong odours. In other cases, some people may experience fragrance sensitivity which can cause allergy-like symptoms. Chemicals that may be used in your favourite candles include formaldehyde, limonene, and alcohol, all of which can instigate headaches!
Bacteria and contaminants are in practically every household. You can find headache-free candles. But it’s still important that you leave your building daily to avoid any harmful or serious effects of SBS.
What You Can Do to reduce headaches from being indoors
It’s important that you always look for the solution in the same place where the problem begins. In other words, if you want to reduce the number of headaches that you endure at home, it’s important that you find a solution within your own environment.
As previously mentioned, humans evolved to live in nature, with fresh air and plenty of plants! We understand that sitting inside isn’t always avoidable, so if you find yourself in this position, why not try to bring the outdoors in?
Plants are extremely important for the planet, people, and all living things. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen from their leaves. To put it simply, we all need them to breathe! Now, let’s imagine that you are living in a contaminated area without any plants around. In this case, headaches are inevitable! As plants clean the air while also benefiting our psychological health, it’s super important to bring some houseplants into your living space!
Making sure you get outside, soak in some vitamin D and do some exercise will all help prevent prolonged headaches from your indoor environment.
Exercise is also a good way to release stress after a long day, but how many days a week should you walk? We’ve got the best tips for parents to exercise at home, especially with children running amuck! For support with your health and wellbeing, keep connected with Vidar – health and lifestyle.