Smartphones are connecting the world in amazing ways. Now it’s easy to get services or products on the go, wherever you are. Apart from keeping you connected, mobile phones help you get job alerts, news and even acts as morning alarms. The number of people using phones has increased immensely leading to more sleep deprivation rate. Excessive use of cell phones can affect your sleep negatively by disrupting the sleep pattern. Most people sleep with their phones on the nightstands, on their beds and even while holding their phones which can be an unhealthy behavior. The temptations to use your phone at night can be very hard to deal with since you always feel the urge to check your mail and see what people are saying on social media.
The only way to avoid the temptation is to keep your phone as far away from you as possible. Additionally, we recommend you to avoid looking at your phone for a few hours before bed for better sleep. Below are the ways in which phone affects your sleep.
Emission of Blue Light
Blue light suppresses melatonin production (a hormone that aids in sleep, helps in maintaining proper circadian rhythm and promotes restorative sleep) by letting your brain think it’s daytime. This hormone also protects the health of your brain as you age.
Even with less light, there is a decrease in melatonin production thus the only option is to avoid nightlight all together. Exposure to this light in the bed can lead to higher risk of insomnia.
There are ways to help minimize the blue light which includes:
- Phones have a nightshift feature which can be adjusted from cool to warm(yellow). With yellow light, you’re less likely to stay awake at night.
- Look for an app that can run on your phone and reduce blue light.
- Finally, the most effective way is to stop using your phone 60 minutes before going to bed.
Ringing and Beeping Disturbances
If you’re using your phone as an alarm, chances are you’re going to leave it on. Beeping or vibration from texts and calls can interrupt your sleep or worse wake you in the middle of the night. You can switch to an old fashion alarm and keep your phone in another room for overnight to avoid any disruption coming from the phone.
While, switching off your phone can limit disruptions, the electromagnetic cellular and Wi-Fi signals interfere with the quality of sleep too.
A Phone Makes You More Alert at Night
We all know the great feeling you get when trying to read a book and then your eyes start to droop and you turn off the light to go to sleep. This is not the case with phones, studies show that a phone can keep you alert at night for long hours which could result in less sleep. This means that you’ll sleep for a few hours than the recommended 8 hours.
This leads to exhaustion and your productivity is affected at your workplace because your concentration is lower than usual. Moreover, your circadian clock gets messed up which ultimately affects your overall health. You need to adopt other enjoyable bedtime routines that don’t require your phone to be on.
It Decreases Your Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep
During REM sleep stage, you experience dreams which are a collection of clips, images, feelings and memories that occur involuntarily. Studies show that this stage is very crucial for the restoration of your body and mind. If you don’t have enough of REM sleep your concentration level decreases, plus, it affects your creativity and problem-solving skills.
Being unable to separate yourself from your phone for long enough to get quality sleep is a sigh of over-reliance or simply phone addiction. Furthermore, it can be detrimental to your health and you need to be smart about when and where to use your phone.
However, if there is an emergency, these rules don’t really apply. Research shows that smartphone use is highest during the night compared to daytime. Some might argue using the phone at night is a way of passing time if you’re unable to sleep due to some personal issue. But there are other means of inducing sleep naturally which can limit your phone use and improve your immune system as well.
Remember, there are other risks associated with sleep deprivation like obesity, diabetes cardiovascular disease, and depression. Although most of the studies conducted involved adults, children are also affected by technology. However, you can limit the time your children spend watching or playing video games on your phone by having a bedtime schedule.
All images via Pixabay