This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Check Your Smartphone Before Sleep

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This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Check Your Smartphone Before Sleepimage © nito – fotolia.com

Several studies have now indicated various potential negative health effects from using mobile phones right before sleep. Here’s a quick summary plus 5 simple tips for what you can do.

A scientific study [1] has found that Using a cell phone before bed can cause insomnia. The study indicated that during laboratory exposure to 884 MHz wireless signals, components of sleep believed to be important for recovery from daily wear and tear are adversely affected. 3 hours exposure to 884 MHz radiofrequency (a typical carrier frequency for cell phones) exposure resulted in prolonged time to reach deep (Stage 3) and shortened deep (Stages 3 and 4) sleep.

Additional adverse health effects attributable to smartphone usage include a diminished quantity and quality of sleep due to an inhibited secretion of melatonin.[2] Research has also demonstrated that exposure to artificial light at night – for example from a laptop or cell phone screen, affects the brain – suppressing the sleep hormone melatonin, diminishing quantity, and quality of sleep. We need darkness in order for our circadian rhythm to be maintained and optimized. [2] However it goes further – melatonin suppression has been linked to numerous severe conditions, including cancer, impairment of the immune system, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and obesity. [3]

Recent research as indicated that staring at screens right before sleep turns out to be a lot worse than previously thought. Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, explains that sleep is vital for our neurons to rest, while the glial cells remove the toxins that were generated by the neurons during the day. [2]

Here’s Dr. Siegel explaining on video:

5 Tips For What You Can Do

1) Stop using your cell phone and computer 2+ hours before bedtime.

2) If you must use electronic devices, turn down the screen brightness.

3) Sleep in complete darkness or as close to it as you can. Thick curtains can block street lights from outside. Eye covers, similar to those provided on flights, can be used. If you need a night light, dim red light is advised as this is thought least disruptive to the circadian rhythm.

4) Try these Uvex Skyper orange tint glasses. At only around $9 on Amazon, they block the blue light emitted from all your electronic devices and are getting rave reviews from people who are saying they really help their sleep patterns.

5) Spend more time in bright light during the day. This has been shown to improve mood and also helps the body’s circadian rhythms.

In summary: Let your body know when it is daytime and when it is night by controlling the amount of blue and white light received by the eyes during daylight and nighttime hours.

References:

[1] Effects from 884 MHz mobile phone radiofrequency on brain electrophysiology, sleep, cognition, and well-being. http://www.ursi.org/proceedings/procGA08/papers/K02cp2.pdf

[2] Smartphone-induced sleep deprivation and its implications for public health – European Public Health (2016). http://www.europeanpublichealth.com/news-and-opinion/smartphone-induced-sleep-deprivation-and-its-implications-for-public-health/

[3] Obesity and metabolic syndrome: Association with chronodisruption, sleep deprivation, and melatonin suppression. Annals of Medicine (2012). http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07853890.2011.586365#.VxCPOyMrK2w

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