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Workers in the UK are jeopardising the quality of their sleep by spending as much as 85% of their waking hours staring at screens.

Research conducted by eye care specialists Optegra found that British workers are spending an average of 13 hours and 34 minutes a day looking at screens while at work, commuting and at home.

Shockingly, employees are spending an average of 55 hours and 36 minutes a month looking at mobile screens while commuting.

The study shows that engineers are the professionals that spend the most time staring at a screen throughout their day. On average, engineers are looking at screens for a total of 18 hours and 30 minutes per day.

They were closely followed by IT workers, who spend 18 and a half hours looking at their screens. There is quite a drop to the next biggest offenders, with accountants dedicating 13 hours and 20 minutes of screen time. Completing the top five were teachers (12 hours and 27 minutes) and admin staff (9 hours and 28 minutes).

A variety of studies have found that excessive exposure to blue light emitted from devices suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep cycles.

Optegra said it is, therefore, no surprise to see that engineering is also the profession that suffers most from a lack of sleep, with 72% of workers saying they get poor sleep. In fact, the top five industries highlighting poor sleep were also the top five industries with the most screen time.

Sundeep Vaswani, eye sciences clinical research associate at Optegra, said: “The amount of time people spend looking at screens throughout their day is very worrying. Optometrists are noticing an increase in tech-related eye strain and looking at the results of our research, this is no surprise.

“It is very important that if you are spending a lot of time on screens, whether it be for work or at home, you take lots of frequent breaks. Looking at something 20 metres away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes is a great way to make sure you are giving your eyes the rest they need.”