Cellphones are Distracting - Even When You're Sleeping?


| 3 Comments

         Over the past few weeks, I have not been able to sleep that well. Due to my concern, I spoke with a doctor who recommended that I shut off all electronics especially my cellphone because the "radiation and light can alter my sleep."

          Now, I am here just as suspicious as you probably are... Can I really not sleep because of the minuscule light shining from my cellphone? I tried to think of the explanations of how cellphones could really ruin a night of sleep- maybe it just wakes people up with calls and texts throughout the night, the alarms could go off at a random time, or it is possible people could be so obsessed with playing games and checking social media that they can't sleep. 

           I am constantly texting, on social media, playing the famous Candy Crush especially right before I fall asleep. I feel a sense of guilt if I do not have my phone near me while I sleep. I set up events for my sorority, so I feel like I must answer at all times immediately, also if someone needed help I would want to be able to get in touch with them at any time. Right before I fall asleep I check my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Researchers say that 63% of people 18-25 years old check social media before they fall asleep. They also say that half of them agreed to play games or Skype after checking social media. I know that I play games right before I fall asleep almost every night, because I think that it tires me out...But writing all of this down now I sound like I have a problem! Now that I think about it, it just keeps me awake and does the complete opposite of tiring me out. Is it because of the light that is radiating from the phone?

        Countless studies have been done to prove this concept, and I am beginning to believe it myself. "Light affects our circadian rhythms more powerfully than any drug," and many problems can occur in people especially "concentration problems in children." I definitely tend to have problems focusing, specifically this year... THIS IS ALL MAKING SENSE NOW. Even Penn State Hershey's, Dr. Harish Rao, has been researching this study as well. He claims that, "Using [phones] before bedtime can... lead to poor quantity and quality of sleep... [And] teens are particularly sensitive to the blue-green spectrum of light emitted by these devices."       

        So what can you do to prevent phones from altering your sleep? Many say to sleep with the devices at least 6-feet away from your bed, and some even believe to not have it in the room at all while asleep. I didn't even realize how many people sleep right next to their phones until I came across an eye-opening graph. The graph claims that out of ages 18-65+, 64.52% of them have their phones right next to their beds so that they can access it anytime throughout the night, 16.31% have it in their room, but somewhere that they can't reach it, and the rest have it out of their rooms in another location. However, those numbers are extraordinary... No one knows the long-term effect that phones can have on all of us, but all I know is that I do not want to be a subject to prove that it can end negatively. Even though I use my cellphone as an alarm clock I am going to put it on the other side of the room just in case! If you sleep with the phone close to you, would the knowledge of it altering your sleep cycle actually encourage you to stop? Would something tragic have to happen, like learning that it really does cause cancer, or the radiation is altering your brain completely, would anything stop you from sleeping by your phone? If so, what would have to happen or be said to have you never sleep by your phone again?

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Works Cited:

       "Terrible Night's Sleep? Blame Your Mobile Phone." Mail Online. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2329068/Terrible-nights-sleep-Blame-mobile-phone-How-exposure-artificial-light-fools-brain-staying-awake.html>.

       "The Medical Minute: Want to Get Some Sleep? Charge up by Shutting down." Penn State News. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://news.psu.edu/story/290800/2013/10/09/medical-minute-want-get-some-sleep-charge-shutting-down>.

       Hall, Katy. "How Mobile Phones Affect Sleep (INFOGRAPHIC)." The Huffington Post. 26 Nov. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/15/phones-sleep-mobile-_n_2680805.html>.

        "Sleep Deprivation: The Surprising Causes and Solutions." CBS News. 4 Dec. 2013. 

       <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sleep-deprivation-the-surprising-causes-and-solutions/>

3 Comments

This is a pretty interesting study. I think that for myself, having my cellphone next to my bed GREATLY inhibits my sleep cycle. Every time I wake up in the middle of the night, I tend to look at my cellphone. According to NBC News, teenagers send up to 34 texts per night after the lights are off and we are supposed to be sleeping. How important are the phones to us? Data show teens consider the loss of a cell phone more dire than the loss of an internal organ. How absurd is that?! Us young people need to relax and realize that our phones aren't that essential for us to live. My next blog will focus on teen cellphone use, thanks for the inspiration!


Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39917869/#.UpUNkmTwJxg

As I was reading this, I was thinking oh wow this kind of makes sense. I know that there have been studies to show that wanting to know the time, the message of a text, or the latest picture on Instagram have kept people awake and wondering, but like you, I never suspected the light and radiation to be an issue. I would absolutely turn off my phone but because my lock button is broken, I find it just about impossible to turn it off. Because I live in a dorm room, it's also not possible for me to sleep with my phone in another room. I could try and turn my brightness down all the way but that would only help with the light issues. So what can I do about the radiation? Apparently there is another option. The pong cell phone case, priced at about $70 has been shown to help reduce cell phone radiation. Apparently, these cases "have an average SAR-reduction rate of up to 91 percent on supported devices." This could seriously change the fear of cell phone use and help our bodies. I'm definitely going to look into buying one.

http://allthingsd.com/20130304/concerned-about-cellphone-radiation-here-are-some-options/

This is definitely a problem, especially for college students. Sleep is very important so we stay healthy and focused during the day and if our phones aren't letting us get enough sleep it can become a serious problem. Not only can the radiation from a cell phone ruin your sleep, but sending and receiving too many text messages can alter your sleep as well. In the Women's Health article, Is Your Cell Phone Ruining Your Sleep, Kenny Thapoung states "For the study, 83 college students answered an online survey about their sleep quality, as well as the average number of text messages they send and receive on any given day. Sure enough, researchers found that the more people text, the less sleep they get." There are so many current problems with cell phones and it seems like the list is never ending. The best solution to this problem is silent and only check it occasionally throughout the day, that way you don't feel or hear it every time you get a notification. If you don't give your phone a rest, you won't get any either!

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