You absolutely need to stop using your phone in bed at night.
Smartphones have become so ingrained in our every day life that most people think nothing of taking their phones to bed. After all, what better time is there to scroll through your social media feed or get a head start on checking your work email, right? You may also find that reading on your phone before bedtime offers the ultimate convenience. You may even believe it helps you get to sleep. Unfortunately, what seems like a perfectly innocent habit may be doing your health serious harm.
Before you climb into your bed tonight for your evening smartphone fix, consider these reasons why you should leave your phone in the other room.
5 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Using Your Phone in Bed at Night
Cell phones emit a special type of blue light that comes with many different health risks. Among the most serious risks of using your smartphone at night is eye damage that this blue light causes.
According to the American Macular Degeneration Association, blue light causes damage to the retinas that can be permanent and lead to macular degeneration. This involves the gradual loss of your central vision until you can no longer see things that are right in front of you.
Currently, research is also being conducted to identify the connection between smartphone usage and the development of cataracts.
While leaving your phone behind at bedtime is the best way to prevent eye damage, you can limit some of the damage by turning down the screen’s brightness and keeping the phone as far away from your eyes as possible.
2. You’re Disrupting Your Sleep
Reading on your phone at night can lull you into a false sense of sleepiness. However, the blue light from your phone actually tricks your brain into thinking it is sunlight and disrupts your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is an essential hormone that regulates your sleep cycles, and improper levels can lead to less restful sleep, night waking, and insomnia.
Over time, not getting enough sleep leads to further health problems such as heart disease, obesity, and premature aging. To ensure that blue light is not disrupting our circadian rhythms, experts recommend turning off all electronics at least two hours before bedtime. Since that may not be possible for everyone, an alternative is to wear orange glasses at night that help block the disruptive blue light.
3. You’re Putting Yourself at Risk of Depression
The side effects of disrupted sleep go far beyond just physical health problems. When blue light disrupts your hormones and sleep patterns, you also become vulnerable to feelings of depression.
Additionally, low energy levels during the day, combined with foggy thinking because of sleep deprivation, can make you feel as though it’s just not worth getting out of bed. Chronic sleep disruptions also lead your body to experience a neurotoxin buildup that can have long-term effects on your mood and ability to get a good night’s rest.
4. You’re Increasing Your Cancer Risk
In 2011, The World Health Association ruled that cell phones could be carcinogenic to humans since they emit electromagnetic radiation that has been linked to certain types of cancer. While the cancer risk of cell phones is still being studied, prolonged exposure to blue light and its affect on the sleep cycle has been shown to increase the risk of breast and prostrate cancer.
The risks of exposure to cell phone radiation also increase when you hold your cell phone close to your body. Since lying in bed often means that the cell phone is next to your head, you could be placing yourself at risk for brain cancer as well.
5. You’re Destroying Your Memory
Smartphones literally can help you become smarter, but they can also ruin your memory when you use them incorrectly. Night phone usage and disrupted sleep make it impossible for your brain to repair connections that were damaged during the day and form new ones. This is why you often feel as though you can’t think clearly after a night without sleep.
Whether you need the full eight hours of rest or are one of those rare people who can wake up rested after four, it is important to keep the phone out of your bedroom so each of those hours provides maximum rest.