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Science Explains Why We Should Stop Using Smartphone In Bed

Science Explains Why We Should Stop Using Smartphone In Bed

We’re living in a tech obsessed world and you hear it time and time again: we need to put our smartphones away – especially when we’re getting ready for bed.

We all know it’s a bad habit but now there’s science that proves that looking at your smartphone in bed is a certified horrible idea.

Smartphone Light Literally Ruins Your Sleep

While the bright blue light your smartphone releases comes in handy during the day, it has a different effect at night while you’re in bed. Since the blue light is meant to mimic sunlight, your brain gets confused and stops producing melatonin – the ever important hormone that gives your body hints that it’s time to hit the sack. Because of this, the light that shines from your smartphone as you scroll in bed can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Ruined sleep schedules and poor rest quality can ultimately lead to major health problems, physically and mentally.

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How Blue Light Exposure Affects Your Brain

When your melatonin levels and sleep cycles are disrupted, you’ll experience more than just a distraction the next day – your memory can actually be impaired and your ability to learn will also be hindered. Not only that, but the longer your sleep is affected the harder it is to get a good night’s rest. Not getting enough sleep can actually lead to buildup of a neurotoxin that actually prevents you from getting good sleep.

Research also shows that people whose melatonin levels are continually suppressed by the smartphone’s blue light are more prone to depression. When your internal clock is constantly thrown off, your biological patterns, including body temperature, blood pressure, and the release of other hormones also go awry.

How Blue Light Exposure Affects Your Body

Smartphones have the potential to ruin more than just your sleep – they can also destroy your vision. Constant, direct exposure to blue light can cause damage to our retinas. The AMDF (American Macular Degeneration Foundation) also warns that macular degeneration can be caused by the retinal damage initiated by blue light exposure, effectively causing you to lose the ability to see what’s literally right in front of you.

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While this evidence is surprising and kind of scary, it should be noted that most studies show this effect with the light being held very close to the retina, which may not exactly replicate typical phone use.

Researchers are now also looking into whether or not smartphone use contributes to the development of cataracts. Not only that, but the constant sleep disturbance and light at night use have been linked to higher cancer risk, particularly breast and prostate cancer. Melatonin also acts as an antioxidant and while more definitive research is required, researchers are pointing to “uninterrupted darkness” as potentially protective against cancer.

How to Break the Habit of Scrolling On Your Smartphone

Clearly, there are better options to scrolling through your Facebook feed or playing a round of Candy Crush right before you go to sleep. And while we’ll never be able to completely avoid our screens, limiting our exposure at night is good for us.

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Some simple ways to reduce your screen time before bed are:

  • Spending some quality time with your loved one, without any screens
  • Reading a book
  • Doing some bedtime yoga
  • Listening to relaxing music

If you really can’t resist the urge to check your phone, sometimes wearing blue light blocking glasses can help counteract the effects or even apps that reduce the amount of blue light emitted can help.

But the less you check your phone before bed, the better your slumber, sight and social life will be the next day.

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smartphone blue light effects

    Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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    Jennee Rasavong

    Freelance Content Marketer

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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