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Is My Phone Ruining My Sleep?

Last updated: May 31, 2022

When you wake up, it's there. When you go to sleep, it's there. When out for a walk, at night out, working, or just brushing your teeth, most Americans have their phone with them all the time. Not only is this bad for a regular daily routine, but it has a myriad of detrimental effects when trying to fall asleep at night, including the quality of your sleep when you do manage to eventually pass out. Even if you are using your phone screen to calm your thoughts at night to fall asleep, chances are, you are doing the exact opposite.

In this article, we'll explore why your phone should be left in another room before and during sleep, what blue light is, and what a healthy sleep schedule and routine should look like.

Why Are Phones Bad For Sleep?

Sleeping with your phone causes many issues: light remittance, notifications, brain alertness about having your communication device next to you, and increased radiation to your body. This will all negatively affect your sleeping patterns and habits.

Our phones are on us so much, that most people have an addiction to their phones. Most of the time if we are in a situation that requires waiting, patience or discomfort, it is extremely popular to check our phones for notifications, games, and other messages. While this can sometimes be beneficial in certain situations, it usually causes a lot of anxiety in otherwise ordinary situations.

This is one of the reasons why phones are bad for sleeping, as your brain cannot shut down and relax properly before bedtime. Here are the other main reasons why your phone may be harming your sleep schedule. 

Alertness: if you are checking your phone before bedtime, chances are, you are scrolling through social media, texting, or watching a gripping show before bed. This causes your brain to stay alert, particularly if you are engaging with content that you find interesting or disturbing. This causes the brain to either stay alert to figure out the situation or to stay alert and process the disturbing content you may have seen on the show or social media.

This not only increases your alertness at night but compromises your state of mental clarity the next morning. Without enough sleep, your frontal lobe remains in a more dull state, which may confuse, reduction of your reaction time, decreases your mood, and puts you in a more dissociated state with otherwise important things that you have to pay attention to for the day.

Disturbs REM and deep sleep quality: The most restorative sleep is deep sleep, and REM sleep. Deep sleep can be compromised by constant notifications or light from your phone during rest, which may not necessarily wake you, but may regress you into a lighter sleeping phase, which causes your body not to repair as well as in this deep state. Furthermore, REM sleep affects the quality and number of dreams you have, which are your brain's way of figuring things out. By seeing content before bed, it will warp or decrease the number of quality dreams you have to clear your head before tomorrow.

Blue Light emission: The light from your phone (and even computer) emitted is called blue light. Blue light negatively affects the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that controls sleep. The blue light also affects your circadian rhythm, which is your body's way of telling whether it is day or night. Put your phone away 30 minutes before bed, put on a blue light filter on your phone and computer via settings, and always go outside shortly after waking to see the sun (even if it's in the clouds).

Setting A Proper Sleep Schedule

The sleep schedule is not just when you go to bed, and when you wake up, it is also a routine or ritual designed to signal your body that it is time for bed. Your body will instinctively get more tired, release more melatonin and relax your muscles and thoughts naturally through consistency. Here are 6 things that will help you sleep better:

1. Sleep 7-9 hours every night. This is done by going to bed at the same time and waking at the same time. If you fall asleep later than usual, get up at the same time regardless.

2. Eat well throughout the day, with a nutrient-rich diet. Do not eat or drink before bed, and do not consume caffeine, cigarettes, or alcohol a few hours before either.

3. Declutter your room. Close all light sources, get some great blackout curtains, close all sources of noise, and keep your room for sex, sleep and relaxation only.

4. Keep a cool temperature. Hot and humid rooms will cause sweating and will decrease the amount of restful sleep.

5. Exercise, especially your core. All workouts are made easier with a strong core, and a great day at home or the gym will make you more tired, falling asleep faster.

6. Natural sleep supplements. We all need some help sometimes due to a stressful day. Rather than have clinical medication daily, here are some natural supplements to help you fall (and stay) asleep.


Can I sleep with my phone under the pillow?

Yes, although it is not recommended. Even if you turn off all notifications, remove light sources and keep your phone silent, it can affect your head position, it can damage your phone screen, and cell phones readily emit radiofrequency radiation, which is not good in prolonged doses, especially to your face and brain (as sleep is usually  8 hours).

Can phones monitor sleep?

Phones do not monitor sleep, applications on your phone may do this. Rather than keeping your phone on you during sleep, you can purchase wearable devices such as watches, bedside devices, and sensors that are made exactly for this purpose.

What happens if I sleep with my phone?

Sleeping with your phone causes many issues: light remittance, notifications, brain alertness about having your communication device next to you, and increased radiation to your body. This will all negatively affect your sleeping patterns and habits.


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