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Are Mobile Phones Dangerous At Night?

HEALTH EFFECTS OF CELLPHONES

Nicky P.

Last updated: 30.07.2020 5 Min.

The mobile phone has become irreplaceable in our daily lives. We can always be reached - by work, family, and friends. We seldom turn off our phones, and even tend to sleep with them on the bedside table.

8 in 10 people keep their mobile phones on at night. Nearly three-quarters of young people actually sleep with their mobile phones in their bed.

This habit can be harmful to your health.

What is the risk of keeping your mobile phone so close to you at night? What are the health effects of cellphones? And how do they affect your sleep?

We'll explore all of this in the guide below.

Health effects of cellphones
  • Overview
  • Reducing sleep time
  • Blue light emission
  • Hypervigilance
  • Potentially dangerous waves
  • Solutions to the problem
  • Our selection of the best mattresses

Reducing sleep time

While considering the effects the phone has on your quality of sleep is one thing, it is also important to consider the actual sleep time. Cellphones have become synonymous with daily life - we use our phone to call, text, check directions, chat on social media, play games, read books, listen to podcasts, browse the internet, and so much more. Social media especially rewards your brain by releasing dopamine, essentially making you feel good, and building a strong addiction to checking your phone.

By taking your phone to bed with you, the compulsive desire to check and respond remains intact and it can be difficult to put your phone away. This alone may lead to many hours spent in bed, browsing your phone, instead of catching valuable zzzs. Over a continuous period, this may lead to sleep deprivation.

Blue light emission

In addition to actually reducing the time spent sleeping, the mobile phone screen and the light it emits can severely affect your body, interfering with your body's natural circadian rhythm. This causes a day/night confusion for the body and prevents your body from producing the chemicals that make you sleep well (as well as those that cause you to wake up).

In addition, the blue light that mobile phones emit has a stimulating effect on the body. Using your phone before you go to sleep or even in the middle of the night has a detrimental effect on the quality of your sleep.

Hypervigilance

You may also develop a symptom of hypervigilance. By keeping your phone on at night, your subconscious mind tells you that you are ready to answer a call, email, or text message. Of course, we would advise that you avoid falling asleep while checking your emails or playing a game.

But this also has an effect if you keep your phone near to your bed - if your phone is on, you'll undoubtedly be alerted by the sounds, light, or vibrations when you receive a notification. This keeps you in a state of hypervigilance, always ready to respond and never completely switching off.

Potentially dangerous waves

The harmful effects of radiation from mobile phones have not yet been scientifically proven. However, this matter has been the subject of lively debate for quite some time, and the talk of cancer and tumour prevails. Even though there is not yet sufficient scientific evidence - and some of the effects of mobile phones may only appear in the long term - this still raises sufficient doubts about the safety of mobile phones.

Of course, this applies not only to sleeping. Concerns have been raised about holding your phone up to your ear while speaking or keeping it in your pocket, and, indeed, it is wise to find alternatives to these. At night, it is strongly advised to keep your mobile phone away from your bed while you're sleeping. Experts recommend that mobile phones should be at least one metre away from our bodies when we sleep.

Even better, switch the phone off or put it into flight mode. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, then at least turn off connections such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Solutions to the problem

While it's good and well to be aware of the harmful effects of mobile phones, it can be difficult to implement changes. Here are a few suggestions that will help you put away your phone and get a better night's rest.

  • Switch off your phone or remove it from your bedroom at least one hour before going to sleep. This gives your body and mind sufficient time to relax and switch off. It also eliminates the temptation of reaching for your phone to check your notifications.
  • Use an alarm clock instead of your phone's alarm. Many phone alarms require your phone to be on (though flight mode suffices) and you're likely to place it near to your bed. By using an old-school alarm clock, this problem disappears.
  • Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary. By creating a safe place that's purely reserved for rest and sleep, you'll undoubtedly create a better sleeping environment.
  • If these options don't work - for example, if you're a student or renting a room - then do what you can: Don't look at your screen for an hour before bed, switch your phone over to flight mode, invest in an alarm clock, and place your phone at the opposite end of your room before you go to bed.

Getting a good night's sleep without the harmful effects of your mobile phone interfering is only a few changes away. If you want to optimise your sleeping environment even more, it may be time to invest in a high-quality mattress and sleep accessories. We'll help you choose the best mattress.

Our selection of the best mattresses

Looking for a new mattress to help you get the best night's sleep? Here are our top recommendations.

Nicky P.

My mum calls me "bear" because I like to sleep so much. I never knew that, one day, that would be a very useful skill. Can you tell that I've found my calling? 

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