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You can check your emails.  You may be experiencing complete apnea

You can check your emails. You may be experiencing complete apnea

According to the Anglo-Saxon press, a large number of people are affected by “email apnea” or “screen apnea”.

According to the Anglo-Saxon press, a large number of people are affected by

©Damien Mayer/AFP

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According to the Anglo-Saxon press, a large number of people are affected by “email apnea” or “screen apnea”.

Atlantico: According to the Anglo-Saxon press, a large number of people are affected by “email apnea” or “screen apnea”. For Internet users, this phenomenon consists of holding their breath when referring to email, or more generally, when returning to the screen. How can we explain this reaction that many individuals share? What are the mechanisms of action?

Aurora Mallet Karas: This phenomenon is very real. I especially see this in my office. As the school year begins, many patients tell me they are afraid to open their mailbox. This creates stress, which is work-related. Some people return from vacation and face an important deadline or are waiting to hear back from a client. Then this form of anxiety appears, this anticipation of tension. This can manifest itself in the form of apnea and true physiological stress.

About 8 out of 10 people experience apnea during email. Are these numbers consistent?

These numbers seem a bit high to me. But this apnea can happen without us really realizing it. The body reacts in this way, particularly through an accelerated heart rate or shortness of breath, without it being possible to notice it in person.

Breathing is a mechanism, like walking, which is semi-automatic, and occurs unconsciously. Humans do not only have to focus on these basic tasks and are able to do other things during these activities. Regulation of inhalation and exhalation as part of breathing and contraction of the diaphragm usually occurs unconsciously.

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However, as needed, a person has the ability to focus on muscle contraction and the process of slowing down the pace, breathing differently, or contracting other muscles.

These mechanisms are semi-conscious so the apnea in question may go unnoticed.

Do these apneas reflect specific stress?

Stress is primarily a physical reaction. This is not just emotional. Physically, reactions will occur in the body. This will lead to stress-related responses and expectations.

How anxious should you be when you realize you’re also suffering from screen apnea?

There is no need to panic about this. Because anxiety attacks can occur. It’s important to stay calm. Knowing that there are perhaps 8 out of 10 people affected by this phenomenon allows us to realize that we are not the only one who is worried. This stress is usually work-related. This is a major issue in our society.

This phenomenon will be linked to significant stimulation via screens, phones or emails. Is this very high stimulation threshold involved in email apnea?

The stress response will be manifested, among other things, by muscle contraction. The issue of cognitive overload represented by screens should call for vigilance. When the body experiences stress, it goes into a fight or flight state. This leads to anticipation of contractions.

Should we fear this phenomenon when it is accidental? What about when it becomes regular?

Like all types of stress, you should be concerned if this phenomenon becomes regular. This can lead to a form of burnout in some cases and when stress builds up. However, burnout has not yet been sufficiently recognized and poorly managed, even by health professionals. it really hurts. This has real consequences for people’s quality of life and health. If the affected people have children, the entire family suffers. Burnout has real consequences for the entire society.

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If you find that you experience shortness of breath every time you open your emails or every time you experience frequent anxiety, you should be careful.

These apneas should alert us if they are linked to a precise context, and prolonged fatigue, sleep disturbances, appetite disturbances, difficulty concentrating, panic, if they always occur in the same context, to the same person who writes to us via e-mail. There may also be a link to sleep apnea.

What solutions can we offer to those who want to combat such a phenomenon?

It is important to consult doctors to evaluate whether everything is going well with this apnea. Breathing and relaxation techniques, sophrology and yoga can help. Sophrology allows you to become aware of, control and regulate breathing.

Stress will generate a fight or flight mechanism. This will generate cortisol, hormone and adrenaline. They will put our bodies under stress. As a result, the heart rate will accelerate, muscle contractions as well as hypervigilance will occur. At high doses, cortisol is harmful to nerve cells. This is why some memories disappear during severe trauma. If stress phases are repeated, it may lead to brain damage. Therefore, cases of combustion must be taken seriously.