What is email apnoea?

Email apnoea, also known as screen apnoea, refers to a situation that causes you to take shallow breaths or even hold your breath. It was discovered by researcher and author Linda Stone in 2011. Stone observed that whenever she wrote business emails, her breathing changed completely — she frequently held her breath (hence the name) or took shorter, shallower breaths. When she stood up and wandered a little, her breath deepened and relaxed.

Working with neuroscientists, researchers, and psychologists over a period of 7 months, Stone found out that 80 per cent of the people they observed became shallow breathers while they worked. Shallow breathing activates the sympathetic nervous system, keeping us constantly in a fight or flight mode, and as a result, we start to feel stressed out. Chronic stress causes fatigue, insomnia, memory, and concentration problems. In the long term, shallow breathing can also lead to stress-related diseases.

The first step in preventing email apnoea is awareness. Whenever you are sitting at your desk, writing an email, checking your phone, you need to realize whether you are taking shallow breaths or frequently holding your breath. If you are, you need to take a break for at least a couple of breaths, loosen up your back and neck and breathe mindfully. Deep, relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, focusing on each breath in and each breath out, will do wonders for your body and mind. If you wish to reap more benefits in the long run, let us remind you that regular breathwork practice is the answer.

You can find more on shallow breathing here.