It’s no secret that we now rely heavily on our mobile phones to help us through our day. They’ve become an extension of ourselves, a source of information and a means of communication that sees innovations on an almost daily basis. We often lose track of time scrolling through news feeds, texting into a group or checking out what tropical island our favourite influencer is exploring; all of these activities are undertaken without thinking of the side effects and possible damage caused to our health. Rather than being vague in discussing these health side effects, we want to focus on the impact your bed time phone use can have on your sleep.
The California Department of Public Heath (CDPH) released a study last year that highlighted some startling results when it comes to phone use and radio frequency (RF) energy. Most of us are guilty of using our phones right up until the moment we decide to turn over and nod off. For those of us who remember to put the phone away, it never really ends up much further than an arms length away on our bedside locker. This can not only be an annoyance in that your phone might continue to vibrate or light up, it can also be extremely detrimental to your health. How? The CDPH have suggested that RF energy being emitted from your phone as it sends and receives information can lead to disease: “some laboratory experiments and human health studies have suggested the possibility that long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and other health effects.” These other health effects include brain cancer and tumors of the acoustic nerve as well as headaches and effects on learning and memory.
In short, prolonged phone use is not a risk worth taking, especially before bed.
Side effects of bed time phone use:
- Blue light can reduce or block the production of melatonin
- Late night phone use decreases your REM sleep, leaving you to feel groggy the following day
- You will become more alert when you actually should be unwinding
- Phone use can offset your body clock, the circadian rhythm that tells us when to wake, eat and sleep
- You will find it difficult to concentrate properly the following day
Putting your phone away an hour or so before bed or leaving in it a separate room are two of the most simple adjustments you can make. Below is a list of tips that can help you achieve a healthier sleep.
Tips to achieving healthier sleep:
- Give yourself an hour between phone use and bed time
- Undertake light reading before bed time
- Put your phone on flight mode or remove it from your bedroom altogether
- Buy an alarm clock
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night
Implement some or all of these tips tonight and see if you feel more refreshed and alert tomorrow. If you do, keep up your healthy new bed time ritual.