Why Does A Cell Phone Affect Sleep Patterns?
Every single cell phone emits something called ‘Blue Light’ from its screen. Blue light is (according to Harvard Health) a wavelength of light that the human body and mind most associate with daylight hours.
Simply put, before there was artificial lighting, our bodies naturally reacted to the rising and setting of the sun and would regulate our circadian rhythm (sleeping pattern) to the sun’s behavior. Our bodies reacting the same way to blue light the same way they do to sunlight means that our natural circadian rhythm is disrupted – especially if we encounter blue light at night as we are falling asleep.
Why Is A Cell Phone Worse Than Any Other Source Of Blue Light?
The truth is, cell phones aren’t any worse than any other screen or device that you use in terms of blue light output. The harsher effects that a cell phone can have on a sleeping pattern are more closely related to the way that we use them, rather than the actual technical reasons that they keep us awake.
Phone Use And Sleep Loss
How many times, after a long hard day that makes you feel completely ready for bed, do you lie down, start browsing on your phone and find yourself staying awake for way longer than you originally intended or even thought you could?
This is the real danger of cell phones when it comes to your sleep pattern – how distracting they are. Setting aside the effects of blue light, the stimulation of apps, social media, messaging or even just web browsing on a brain can be massive – and they can completely re-awaken you when you are on the cusp of sleep.
It makes sense as well. Cell phones are designed to be easy to use, the technology and applications by their very nature quick, entertaining and addictive. Now consider this; almost 60% of 16-34-year-olds use their smartphones as alarm clocks.
Why is using a phone as an alarm clock important? Because it suggests that the cell phone in question is always within easy reaching distance for the user – meaning that the temptation to use the cell phone is always going to be there.
How To Avoid Sleep Disruption From A Cell Phone
Now that we have run through the reasons that a cell phone can keep you awake long into the night and just generally cause mayhem within your sleeping pattern; how can you make sure that you get yourself back into a regular rhythm?
The first thing to do would be to put down your phone.
Not just when you go to bed either – try to start ignoring electronic devices in favor of things like books, a consistent bedtime routine – whatever as long as it isn’t your cell phone.
Be sure to invest in an alarm clock (or radio) that has an alarm function – and make sure that your phone is on charge out of arms reach. The first thing this will accomplish is removing your temptation to reach for your phone, meaning that when you are in bed you are there to sleep. The second thing this is going to do is seriously reduce the amount of blue light getting into your eyes – making it a lot easier to get to sleep when you choose to do so.
Finding it hard to put your phone down at night? Look into screen time limiting apps that can take away the responsibility of switching off for you, disallowing your use of certain apps, social media or even the phone itself save for incoming calls.