How Do Mobile Phones Affect Our Sleep?

Why Is Sleep Such a Big Topic These Days?

Sleeping problems have increased enormously in the last few years. Statistics show how many people suffer from different sleeping problems such as sleep disorders, lack of sleep, and low sleeping quality. Many people choose to use medications to treat sleeping problems, while others search for various alternative therapies.

To better understand the cause behind the current increase of this topic, we have to go back ten years in time: a bus stop, a waiting room at the doctor’s office, commuting – people talked to each other, read a magazine – or simply did nothing but wait.

But how different it is today. Most people pass waiting times using their mobile phone: replying to a Whatsapp message, scrolling through the latest holiday picture of a hardly known person on Facebook, or making a quick call.

We have basically lost random breaks where our minds can simply come to rest.

Any waiting times like queuing at the cash register or waiting for the train are bridged by working with a cell phone.

We are always available, reachable around the clock, and even take work with us into the evenings. The separation of private life and professional life as we know it from the past is missing. Everything puts us under pressure. And stress is poison for a good night’s sleep because it doesn’t let us calm down anymore.

Smartphones as an Attention Killer

In a recent study, American psychologists found that the very presence of the cell phone lowers our cognitive skills and concentration. Students were tested to see how the smartphone’s position affects their cognitive performance. To do this, they had to solve tasks on the computer that required concentration. The cell phone was in the pocket, lying on the table or in another room. The best way to concentrate was on the participants whose cell phones were in another room.

The smartphone can distract us even if it is only in our sight and we’re not using it.

It leads us to keep checking (or only thinking about) whether someone wrote to us or thinking about whether there is something new on social media.

But it is not only during the daytime this problem occurs. Many people take their phones to bed with them, and again – it distracts us from a good night’s sleep. It not only delays our natural body’s internal clock but also suppresses sleep-inducing factors. Mind and stress relaxation and the release of the hormone melatonin are among the most critical factors to invite sleep. If they get interfered by the bright light of the screen and the distraction by using our smartphones just before bedtime, they stop working correctly and cause sleeping problems.

For many people, the reasons named above are probably nothing new. We can find many facts and studies that prove mobile phones’ direct and indirect impact on our sleep quality.

But What Impact Does the Constant Radiation Have On Our Sleep?

Now, this is a topic that is way less discussed in public, and only a few people are aware of it.

The fact is that cell phones emit high-frequency electromagnetic fields. But the tricky thing is that we can’t see, smell, and feel the rays, but they constantly surround us.

Anyone who has heard a fax connection or an old 56k modem knows how uncomfortable this noise is. High-frequency radiation is pure electrical stress – for humans and animals.

Insomnia and Stress

Research shows that phones have a measurable effect on the brain and can cause insomnia and affect recovery from daily exertion. Principal Investigator Professor Bengt Arnetz said the findings were “realistic” and showed that mobile phones “have a measurable effect on the brain.” Also, the latest research has proven that children who have a TV, game consoles, and a mobile phone in the room, suffer from anxiety and are worse at school due to lack of sleep.

Weakening Our Senses and Cognitive Capabilities

In addition to frequent headaches and insomnia, it can impair vision, weaken immunity, memory, and concentration, and increase the risk of heart disease.

Dry eye syndrome – people blink three times less often while looking at the screen and get a feeling of “sand in the eyes.” More frequent breaks and artificial tears help here. Studies demonstrated that regular exposure to blue light can create cataracts or blurred vision.

Increasing the Risk of Diabetes

Every day, several hours of exposure to blue light from the screen, which interferes with melatonin production, is associated with a higher risk of obesity and type-2 diabetes, say Harvard scientists.

In research, the subjects who went to bed later every day were exposed to artificial blue light before going to bed, which gradually increased their blood glucose.

Also, it was determined that their production of leptin, the hormone responsible for the feeling of satiety, was reduced, which is why they overeat more and more and end up in a state of pre-diabetes.

If you want to know how easily you can lower the impact of electromagnetic radiation on your sleep or what options you have to protect your sleep from it, we will show you here some simple tricks:

#1 No Cell Phone in Your Bedroom

You must strictly make your bedroom a device-free zone! And not only free of cell phones but other devices – TVs, stereos or even radio alarm clocks – they don’t belong in the bedroom. They all work with EMF radiation which can harm the quality of your sleep and even cause sleeping disorders. It is therefore better to remove your smartphone and all devices from the bedroom. The bedroom is for rest and nightly regeneration. If you need an alarm clock on your smartphone, set the phone on airplane mode. It will lower the EMF level already drastically.

#2 Keep Your Cell Phone in Airplane Mode

If you don’t need to use your phone for a while OR you need to have it in your bedroom at night (e.g., for alarm clock reasons), turn it into airplane mode. It will reduce the electromagnetic field exposure enormously, even though it is not entirely off as most people believe.

#3 Put the Smartphone as Far Away as Possible

If it isn’t possible to leave the phone in another room, place it at least one meter away from your bed. This is a good thing, especially if you have to get up early, for you will not be able to snooze the alarm for another 15 minutes of sleep. You will have to get up to turn it off, and once you get up, it means the day begins!

#4 Play music on Bluetooth speakers

If you like listening to bedtime music or a podcast, it’s better to turn on your Bluetooth speakers or wireless headphones, so you don’t have to put your phone next to your head. You probably won’t even notice the difference that the phone isn’t there after a while, but your chances of quality sleep will increase, which you have to admit is a privilege in this fast-paced world that has no time waiting for you.

Final Words

As seen from everything above, spending too much time in front of a screen can be very dangerous. So, to keep yourself healthy and happy, limit the use of smartphones and TV to a minimum, especially before bedtime.

If you need some entertainment before bed, you can always read a book or listen to some music via speakers. If that doesn’t help, count sheep as our ancestors did 🙂 Everything is better than the phone.