Inside: 4 reasons experts say that you should stop sleeping with your phone nearby and what to do with your cell phone instead.
“Put your phone away!”
My husband reminds me every night, but I would do it anyway.
You see, I have a routine every night before bed:
- Check my phone.
- Set my alarm.
- Turn off my phone’s wifi.
- Set it to airplane mode.
When I first started doing this, my husband of course asked why. I explained that I didn’t want wifi signals that close to my body at night.
Though I’m sure he thought it was a little weird, my husband has by now learned to appreciate and accept my weirdness.
Then I got to thinking, is all this really necessary?
Do you need to turn off your phone at night?
4 Reasons to Stop Sleeping with Your Phone
Just a quick note before I get started that this is not medical advice – I’m not a doctor or scientist myself.
However, this routine has helped me sleep better, so I’m sharing in case it might help you too. Since I stopped sleeping my my phone on at night, I’ve been able to fall asleep almost immediately and once I am asleep I stay asleep. Until the baby wakes me up, that is!
The following are four reasons to consider no longer sleeping with a phone near you at night.
1. Looking at your phone before bed keeps your brain active
Whether it’s scrolling through social media, playing a game, or checking emails, using your phone makes your brain do work.
Instead of slowing down and going into “sleep mode,” your brain is active.
Not only is your brain thinking of the immediate task at hand, be it reading or gaming, you might come across something that starts up a new brain process.
For example, while checking Facebook, you might notice that a friend’s birthday is coming up soon. Then you realize that you need to get them a present — but what?
Now your brain is off on a whole new tangent thinking about potential birthday presents, where to find them, how much it will cost, when you can go shopping, and so on.
This happens to me all the time when I look at my phone before bed, and it makes it so much more difficult to fall asleep because I’m worrying about my to-do list.
Try this: If you can’t resist checking your phone at night, keep a notepad by your bed too. That way if you think of something you need to do, you can write it down. This may help your brain relax a bit and stop worrying that you’ll forget these tasks when you wake up the next day.
2. Phone noises can wake you up
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
If your phone is next to your bed, noises and chimes from text messages, emails, etc. could potentially wake you out of restful slumber.
Not only does this disrupt your sleep, but it might be difficult to fall back asleep again.
Fragmented sleep can have some pretty serious side effects, from extreme fatigue to weight gain.
Quick fix: Turn your phone on silent at bedtime.
3. A phone’s “blue light” may disrupt your circadian rhythm
A circadian rhythm is essentially your body’s internal clock. Your circadian rhythm determines times of alertness or awareness, as well as tells your body when it’s time to sleep.
Here’s how it works:
- Your brain sets your sleep patterns or your circadian rhythm based on light.
- When your eyes send that it is getting dark outside, they alert your brain.
- Your brain receives those signals and tells your body to release sleep hormones, like melatonin.
- When your eyes sense light in the morning, your body starts producing different hormones to wake you up.
However, artificial light can trick your body into thinking it should be awake, even at night time. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that when your body is exposed to lights in your home, melatonin production drops by up to 85 percent.
Now imagine that in addition to the lights in your house, your body is getting blasted by the bright LED lights from your phone, TV, tablet, etc.
It could be midnight, but if you’re staring at a brightly glowing phone screen, your body thinks it’s daylight and time to be awake.
What to do: Institute a “no technology” rule for at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Dimming the lights can also help your circadian rhythm pick up on the fact that it is night and time to start getting ready for sleep. If you like to “wind down” before bed, try reading a book instead, with only soft lamp light.
4. Radiation from Cell Phones Could be Dangerous
When your phone is connected to a cell network and/or wifi, it emits radio frequency radiation (RF), which is a component of electromagnetic field radiation (EMF).
The World Health Organization warns that radio frequency electromagnetic fields from cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic.” This means that the “association is considered credible, but when chance, bias or confounding cannot be ruled out with reasonable confidence.”
This means that there is not yet conclusive research that prolonged exposure to cell phones causes cancer, but that experts believe it is a possibility.
There will definitely be some who say that cell phones causing cancer is crazy, but I say, why take a chance?
Since we don’t need our cell phones at night, I look at this as a good opportunity to take a “break” from my cell phone and potentially harmful radiation.
Try this: If you’re like me and use your phone as your alarm clock, put your phone on airplane mode and turn off wifi while you sleep. When your phone is in airplane mode, it does not emit RF radiation, and drastically lowers the amount of overall EMF radiation that it creates too.
Want to sleep better? Here’s what to do with your phone at night:
I mentioned a most of these tips in each of their respective sections above, but as a quick recap, these are some easy steps to take that may help you sleep better:
- Stop using your phone (and all technology) at least 30 minutes before bed
- Charge your phone in another room at night
- Put your phone on silent
- Turn off your phone’s wifi and bluetooth
- Put your phone on airplane mode
In addition to not sleeping with my phone on at night, I also like to use lavender essential oil in a diffuser to encourage restful sleep. See the rest of my favorite everyday essential oil uses here.
What do you think about sleeping with your phone at night? Let us know in the comments below!