Smartphones are everywhere in the modern age, and their relevance and utility in our daily lives are only increasing. It’s hard to imagine giving up this convenience for just a moment. Our gadgets not only accompany us throughout the day, they also share our beds. A whopping 71 percent admit to keeping their smartphones within arm’s length at night. This is not surprising, as our gadgets include a built-in alarm clock, but could they be damaging to our mental and physical health?
Studies have shown that the light emitted from mobile phones, the same light given off by laptops, tricks the mind into believing it is still daytime. In turn, this hinders the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone produced by the body’s pineal gland that regulates your circadian rhythm, or your sleep/wake cycle.
Combine this with the possibility that you will receive a text message or other notification while you sleep, interrupting your natural sleep cycle. How many of us can safely say we’ve never stayed up far longer than intended on Facebook or Instagram instead of getting some much-needed shuteye?
Poor sleep patterns have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing, and not only because of the difficulty of coping with fatigue the next day. The long-term negative effects associated with sleep deprivation include an increased risk of obesity, depression, heart disease, and diabetes.
So if sleep is something you find elusive, examine how you use your phone at night. A good place to start is to stop looking at your smartphone at least half an hour before bedtime. If keeping a phone in the bedroom is too much of a temptation for you, leave it outside the bedroom. And if you insist on needing the alarm clock, just go out and buy one instead. This way, your body and mind are able to go through the proper transition into nighttime. Give yourself some rest.