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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, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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