If you’re like most other people with a mobile phone these days, you probably check it throughout the day. When evening comes and you hop into bed, you grab your phone and spend at least 15 to 30 minutes checking social media or browsing the web. This habit is a pretty normal one for smartphone users today — but is it healthy? How much do smartphones affect sleep, and should you be worried about the potential long-term consequences?
Do smartphones affect sleep in a positive or negative way? There are both pros and cons to having your phone near you at night. Let’s weigh in.
Putting your smartphone next to you at night can have a few benefits. First of all, you can use your phone as an alarm, which means plenty of neat tone options that are more pleasant to wake up to than your average beeping alarm clock.
In addition, you can buy a number of apps for smartphone devices that are designed to track sleep and help you improve your sleep quality. You may be wondering how your smartphone could possibly track your resting hours accurately enough to have a significant impact on your life — but the technology is there.
These types of apps will record your sleeping habits over time, even keeping track of the amount of time you regularly stay in each sleep cycle so that they can determine how well you’re resting each night. Some may have features to help you fall asleep as well as the ability to calculate the ideal time to wake you up. Thanks to the challenges so many individuals have falling asleep and staying asleep, it can help to have access to a method that accurately measures quality of sleep.
On the other hand, experts today say that using your phone before bed or even having it close to you at night is more harmful than helpful to your well-being. Sleep deprivation plagues about one in three adults across the U.S. Could our smartphones be a contributing factor to this issue?
If you have a strong attachment to your smartphone, you’re probably tempted to check it throughout the day any time it’s nearby. That temptation stays with you after you go to bed and turn out the lights.
You may feel a desire to check your social media or texts late at night, and the need becomes even more prevalent if you keep your ringer on when you sleep. Every time you hear it go off, your immediate reaction is to reach for it and see what the notification says or what it’s for. As a result, having your phone nearby at night or using it to play games and interact on social media can keep you alert instead of helping you wind down and start to feel tired.
The main correlation between smartphones and sleep deprivation, however, is blue light from the screens of these mobile devices. You may have heard of it before, but how does blue light affect sleep? This light is special because according to your brain, it acts similarly to sunlight. As a result, when you spend 30 minutes playing games on your phone right before bed, your brain thinks it’s still daylight, which inhibits the sleep chemical melatonin and makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Over the long term, the way smartphones affect your sleep can have serious ramifications for your health.
One option that can help reduce this effect is to use your smartphone’s Night Shift or Night Mode setting, which lowers or removes the blue light from your screen and can reduce eye strain. Both iOS and Android devices listed on The Whiz Cells have this type of setting.
Evidence suggests, however, that the healthier way to improve sleep is to limit the time you spend on your phone in the evening and put it away at least 30 minutes before you intend to go to sleep.
Create a Healthy Schedule
There’s little doubt that there’s a powerful relationship between smartphones and sleep that can influence your daily life. Finding a balance between your phone and other activities before bed each night may help you establish a healthier sleep schedule that will allow you to wake up each morning feeling happier and more refreshed.