In today’s fast-paced world, our smartphones have become ubiquitous. We use them for communication, entertainment, navigation, and even as a tool for our daily work and personal tasks. However, as convenient as these devices may be, our constant usage of them can also have negative effects on our sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 “Sleep in Poll” asked questions regarding using technology before bed. According to the report, about four out of ten people use their phones when trying to get to sleep. Between the ages of 13 and 29, this conduct was particularly prevalent among teenagers and young adults. In addition, six out of ten respondents said they used a desktop or laptop computer an hour before bed.
It is better to be safe than sorry and to be safe, it’s important to know how using your phone daily impacts your health is possibly affecting your sleep. Read more to find out!
A Harvard study found that reading on a screen before bed will make you feel more tired and foggy when you get up. When compared to those who read a physical book, individuals who read on a screen before bed reported needing hours more to properly “wake up” the following day.
Stable access to social media, emails and the internet also means that we are always connected to the world one way or the other and can be easily distracted or stressed by the unflinching influx of information. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and fidgety behaviour, causing difficulties in relaxing and slowing down before going to sleep.
However, the constant use of phones can also lead to a stagnant lifestyle and can cause negative effects on our physical health. Sitting in front of a phone or tablet for hours on end can lead to a decrease in physical activity and can cause health issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Read more to keep learning about your smartphone is affecting your sleep.
Trust us, it’s in more ways than one!
The blue screen light emitted from phones can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. This means that using our phones before bed is negatively affecting our sleep because it eventually leads to us finding it hard for us to fall asleep and stay asleep. Studies have shown that individuals who use their phones for more than an hour before bedtime have a harder time falling asleep and have a shorter sleep duration compared to those who avoid phone use before bed.
Blue light can also harm the retina in addition to disrupting sleep. Red, yellow, and orange light, in contrast to blue light, have little to no impact on your circadian cycle. For reading at night, dim light in one of these colours is thought to be ideal. Blue light is emitted by portable e-readers like the Kindle and Nook, although not as much as other electronic devices.
The constant ding of notifications and the temptation to check our phones can lead to a phenomenon known as “sleep-texting” where individuals unconsciously check their phones while they are asleep. This can cause disturbances in our sleep patterns and lead to feelings of fatigue and grogginess in the morning.
Smartphones’ proximity to us during sleep can put our health at risk because of the radiation released. Mobile phones typically generate radiation as a result of their 900 MHz transmission signal, Because of this, using a cell phone while keeping it close to your head for an extended amount of time can cause headaches, muscle soreness, and other serious health problems.
One way to reduce the negative of daily phone usage is to establish a “digital sunset,” where you stop using your phone a certain amount of time before bed.
This can be done by setting reminders and turning on the “night shift” or “blue light filter” settings on your phone can help reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your screen.
Another way is to create a phone-free environment in your bedroom. This means keeping your phone away from your bed and leaving it in another room while you sleep. This can help reduce the temptation to check your phone and can create a more relaxing environment for sleep.
You can also lock your addictive apps at night to prevent you from staying up with your phone. You can do this with Applatch, a mobile app that locks up your addictive apps without letting you have access to them until the period you set has elapsed unless allowed by your accountability partner.
While our smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives, it’s important to be aware of the negative ways that our constant phone use is affecting our sleep.
It’s important to note that our phones are not inherently bad for our sleep. However, it’s the way we use them that can have a negative impact. To stop the effects of phone use on our sleep, it’s important to establish healthy phone habits, such as setting aside time to check our phones and setting limits on phone use before bedtime.
Establishing healthy phone habits, such as setting limits on phone use before bedtime, creating a phone-free environment in your bedroom and using a blue light filter, can help change these negative effects and promote better sleep. Remember that good sleep quality is crucial for our physical and mental well-being, so it’s important to take care of our sleep as much as we take care of our phone usage.