It sounds crazy doesn’t it? Is email apnea yet another trendy disease or condition? How can there be such a thing? You have probably heard of sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea you frequently do not breathe deeply while you sleep and the frightening part is you might actually stop breathing. You think you slept but the truth is you did not get enough deep sleep and you wake up exhausted.
If you have email apnea you stop breathing or breathe very shallowly when you are reading email or performing other work on your computer. In 2008 Linda Stone coined the term email apnea. Her definition is: “Email apnea – a temporary absence or suspension of breathing, or shallow breathing, while doing email (Linda Stone, February 2008).”
Stone believes that 80% of us have on occasion suffered from email apnea. I have not looked at any research that proves or disproves this statistic. I know that I have had email apnea and I bet you have too. You can feel it. It’s that moment when you are typing an email or reading an email or document and all of a sudden you have to gasp for air. It’s that moment when you realize that while working hunched over your computer you begin to feel light headed. Perhaps you start to yawn continually and you know you are not tired. That is your body asking you for air. YOUR BODY ASKING YOU FOR AIR!
Successful, productive people do not make their body ask them for air. In December 2013 Fast Company magazine covered some of the secrets of highly productive people. (Seehttp://www.fastcompany.com/
Maybe you do not feel comfortable taking a nap or getting into the full lotus position at your desk. That’s OK. Here are some things you can do:
- Be aware. Pay attention to your breathing patterns. Each time you open up an email ask yourself, “Am I breathing right now or am I holding my breath?” If you are holding your breath, then immediately take two to three long deep breaths.
- Note the types of emails (or other computer tasks) that lead you to hold your breath. Are they on a certain topic or related to a certain project or individual? Once you know this you can design a simple breathing exercise to counter act your email apnea.
- Develop a simple breathing exercise. For example:
In reviewing the best ways to train your brain to be highly productive giving your brain oxygen makes the top of the list. (See http://www.fastcompany.com/