Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

Have Headaches and Dizziness? Here's How to Cure Your "Digital Concussion"

Life in lockdown can strain our eyes and brain. But there are simple fixes.

By

Headaches. Dizziness. Dialed pupils. Discombobulation.

Have you experienced those problems, as you endlessly pound away at your computer during lockdown? Comedian Nicole Arbour did, and so did many of her friends. “I was at the point of not being able to work,” she says. “The symptoms were so bad.”

In search of a solution, she sent an Instagram DM to Andrew Huberman, a professor of neuroscience and director of the Huberman Lab at Stanford University. “It immediately made sense,” he says. “All the symptoms have deep roots in the biology of vision and in brain science.”

After discussing the problem, they came up with a term to describe what Arbour and many others are feeling: It’s a “digital concussion.”

And there’s good news: Digital concussions are very treatable.

First, a caveat. Doctors throughout history have wrongly, often hilariously claimed that technology will physically harm us — and the “digital concussion” is not part of that history. Huberman is using the term “concussion” metaphorically, to describe a set of symptoms. An actual concussion involves damage to the brain, and Huberman says “there is zero evidence that up-close screen time damages the brain the same way a physical insult to the head does.”

However, our locked-in lifestyles can put a lot of strain on our eyes, which can lead to very real pain. Assuming you have no other active ailment that may be causing these symptoms, Huberman suggests trying the following fixes:

1. Get light during the day. When we’re inside all the time, we’re not getting the kind of natural light that our bodies are used to. “Get some sunlight exposure to your eyes in the late afternoon,” he says, and do it without sunglasses. If you can't step outside, spend some time near a window.

2. Look around, intentionally. In our homes, we’re often up close to things like screens and walls. That’s straining, and can be especially bad for children. Huberman suggests shifting your perspective. “Keep your head and eyes stationary — if they move around a little bit, no big deal,” he says. “And instead of looking at one point, without moving your eyes, just kind of dial out your gaze so that you can see the ceiling above you, on either side of you, and below you. You're relaxing those muscles.”

3. Relax with breath. “If you really want to trigger the relaxation response quickly, the way to do this is with what's called a ‘double inhale,’” Huberman says. Take two breaths in, and then exhale deeply. Repeat. (Scientists are still exploring why controlled breathing calms our bodies, but many studies confirm it.)

4. Dim the lights at night. “As much as possible,” Huberman says, “try and keep the lights low in your home after the hours of about 11 p.m.”

In short, give your eyes and brain more natural variety — a mix of distances and focuses, relaxing sensations and light that follows the schedule of the day. Arbour started following this advice and is now happily back to work. “I really can't explain how helpful his tips were,” she says.

For more, watch the video above of Huberman and Arbour.

Latest

This Entrepreneur Maxed Out His Credit Cards to Build a Business That Helps Companies Protect their Data

The president and CEO of Data443 shares how his company secures and manages organizational data wherever it exists.

How This Doctor-Turned-Entrepreneur is Trying to Change the World Through Play

The CEO of In KidZ shares how she's trying to make inclusion a daily part of family life with her culture-focused company.

How to Lead Calmly and Effectively While Your Business Experiences Growth

The co-founder and CEO of Komodor discusses his company's journey and his advice for entrepreneurs who find themselves in the spotlight overnight.

This Meta Leader Has Interviewed More Than 300 Job Candidates. Here are Her Pro Tips to Help You Nail Your Next Job Interview.

Meta's head of Global Environmental, Social, and Governance Business shares her dos and don'ts when it comes to the phases of a job interview.

This No-Code Platform Just Closed a $55.5 Million Round B

The co-founder and CEO of EasySend shares how his company creates digital customer journeys and his advice for entrepreneurs looking to break through the noise.

This SaaS Founder Sold His Business to Oracle for $9.3 Billion

In November 2016, NetSuite was acquired for $9.3 billion. Founder Evan Goldberg explains how it happened.

These Founders Started Their Company With a $300 Investment. They've Now Done $1 Million in Profits.

Watch this exciting episode of 'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch' to learn about Canadian legging company Rose Buddha and see which hopefuls are able to land investor capital.

This Digital Campaign Celebrates the Fast-Growing Workforce of Web Creators

Elementor's VP of Marketing discusses the company's digital campaign and how web creators fit into the larger creator economy.

Watch the 60-Second Pitch That Landed a $500,000 Investment

Find out which companies impress our investors on another exciting episode of 'Elevator Pitch.'

Why This CEO Believes Entrepreneurship Is as Important to Learn as Geometry

Ayele Shakur shares her bold plan to make entrepreneurship education a requirement for high-school students and explains why business leaders should get on board.

How this Healthcare Entrepreneur is Disrupting the Fertility Space

The Founder and CEO of Inception Fertility shares how his family's road to parenthood inspired a brand that's making fertility treatment more accessible and the patient experience at the heart of what they do.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.

  • An original series streaming weekly where you can Click-to-Invest while you watch. THEIR JOURNEY. Your decision.
  • Your favorite pitch show is back with new entrepreneurs pitching Entrepreneur's investors.
  • Host Nicole Walters interviews small business founders to discuss their unique challenges and experiences running and growing a business. 
  • Jessica Abo covers the causes people care about, the powerful work they do and how they got to where they are in the first place.
  • Bestselling author, Ben Angel, takes his audience on a journey into the entrepreneurial mind to uncover why we do what we do through his powerful short films and educational videos so you can unleash your ideas and potential.
  • Watch our staff interview top entrepreneurs and report on location in these Entrepreneur.com exclusive videos.