Is sleeping with a phone under your pillow safe?
Many of us keep cell phones near our beds even during sleep. There are multiple reasons why we do that. We spare the last minutes before falling asleep browsing the internet and just leave it next to the bed. Some of us are simply afraid that we won’t be able to wake up in the morning without having an alarm turned on our phones. There are even some people who sleep with a phone under their pillows. Is that safe?
Sleeping with a phone under your pillow can cause significant health problems. If you keep on waking up exhausted and in a bad mood, it may be the smartphone that is your real problem. Having a mobile phone next to your bed can affect your ability to rest effectively. So, why should you avoid sleeping with your cell phone next to your head?
Is radiation from the cell phone dangerous for your health?
In times of common access to the internet, sometimes you can find articles that contain myths about how some factors affect our health. It is rather difficult to tell what is right and what is wrong. Some people believe that radiation from mobile phones can have some negative effects on people’s health. This had not been confirmed in any research. It is true, cell phones release some amount of radiation, but there is no proof that they can cause you harm.
There is also another myth, according to which sleeping with the phone under your pillow may damage your brain by decreasing the cellular level in it. It had not been confirmed, either. It doesn’t mean, though, that putting a cell phone under the pillow has no unwanted consequences at all.
Why is it bad to sleep with your cell phone?
Having our mobile devices next to us every minute of the day affects us in many ways. Yet, we find it very hard to put it away and not use it, at least for an hour or two. Such a strong addiction is dangerous. First, with cell phones, our efficiency is low, because we keep losing focus due to receiving endless notifications. Second, because we are so engaged with our mobile devices, we lose the ability to rest effectively.
Keeping your phone near distracts you and makes you feel awake
You feel tired. You go to the bed and… you start to play with your mobile applications, watch memes or funny videos. The need to stay connected is so strong that you can’t resist, even if you are exhausted. Then, after a while of browsing the web, you no longer feel like sleeping, and you have to waste a lot of time to fall asleep. Keeping the phone under the pillow doesn’t help. If it is so close, you can reach for it at any moment. It is typical that we suddenly remember important things we were about to do, for example sending an email. In the end, we take our phones from under the pillow and deal with the problem, when in fact we should be resting.
Blue light makes it hard to fall asleep
Devices we use every day emit electromagnetic energy. It is in the form of waves (radio waves, microwaves, etc.). Some of those waves are light waves. Visible light waves can have different lengths — from 380 nanometers to 700 nanometers. Those short ones transmit more energy than long ones. A blue light wave is short — between 415 and 455 nanometers. This light is released by devices with LED technology like your TV, computers, and mobile phones.
Light is a very important factor that aligns circadian rhythms. Now, with artificial light, we are exposed to visual waves 24 hours a day. Blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, which is not helpful when one is trying to fall asleep. If you have blue light sources turned on in your bedroom, your brain may think that it is still daytime and keep you alert and awake.
Notifications disturb your sleep
When you are connected to the Internet, you will most probably receive notifications from applications on your mobile device. Many people do not disable Internet connection on their phones, even if they don’t use it. The question is: why do you need to have a WiFi connection when you sleep? An alarm clock on your phone does not require the Internet to wake you up in the morning. Each time you hear your mobile beep, or even buzz, you feel a strong need to check what the message or notification is all about. Sometimes, the sound might even wake you up after you have already fallen asleep.
You may feel tired in the morning
You probably will manage to get some sleep, but because your resting period will be reduced due to problems with falling asleep, you might wake up tired and annoyed. Using mobile devices before going to bed (or even in bed) may affect your REM or deep sleeping patterns. Sometimes, you can even have a headache just after waking up, and that’s surely not a thing that puts a person in the good mood for the rest of the day. If you have constant sleeping problems, you might even suffer from more serious conditions, like depression.
A device may catch fire
A mobile phone battery explosion has been known to happen, and it could be really dangerous. Many people charge their phones at night, to have them fully operational in the morning. But we take a great risk by charging our cell phones while having them under the pillow in our bed. The charger and the phone heat up during the process, which may result in fire because the heat cannot dissipate and both those things become hotter and hotter. You should be particularly careful if you use a charger from a different manufacturer than the manufacturer of your phone. If it is incompatible with the device, there is a greater risk of it catching fire.
How to spend the night without your smartphone under the pillow?
You surely understand that having your phone next to you is not healthy or safe, but we also know that quitting bad habits is not so easy, as it would seem. We have three pieces of advice, which - if you decide to follow them - will help you reduce your time spent with mobile devices, eliminate the risk of fire and allow you to rest more effectively.
Give yourself a screen time limit
Let’s be honest - modern phones have become an important part of our lives. They make life simpler and allow us to save a lot of time and even money because many free mobile applications are very useful. It would be very difficult to simply put a smartphone away and replace it with an old-fashioned cell phone and never use it again. We don’t expect you to change your life so drastically, in one day, but you can try to limit the time that you spend browsing the Internet. Try to handle all of your affairs that require using a mobile phone about 1-2 hours before you get to bed. This way, you’ll be able to calm yourself and prepare for the night. You can do some stretching, do yoga, go for a walk, read a book or listen to peaceful music to entertain yourself and relax before sleeping.
Create a sleep sanctuary
Creating healthy habits will make it easier to fall asleep, but you also need to eliminate all sources of distraction. Don’t let late calls, text messages, and notifications disturb you, while you are trying to fall asleep. Turn on the silent mode in your phone and put it away from your bed.. If you fear that you won’t be able to fight the temptation, simply turn the smartphone off and leave it in another room. You don’t need it when you sleep anyway.
Replace your smartphone with a minimalist alarm clock
If you decide to leave your cell phone turned off in another room, you will need something to wake you up. Well… it is possible to train yourself to get up at the proper time every day without any electronic devices, but if you don’t have faith in yourself, it would be wiser to replace a smartphone with a classic alarm clock, like Mudita Bell. Mudita Harmony is another great minimalist alarm clock. It has a nice, harmless E-ink display, which does not emit blue light, so it will not affect your sleep. Mudita Harmony will wake you up slowly with beautiful, acoustic sounds by leveraging a progressive wake-up method. It comes with an additional feature - the meditation timer that will be useful during your morning or evening exercise time.
You can live healthier with simple, minimalist solutions.
Put your smartphone away for a while and experience your life in full.
We invite you to take a look at our Sleep Better resource page which covers all the important factors that impact our quality of sleep. Also, please check out similar articles featured on our blog and learn more about proven tips for better health and overall well-being.
You might also consider joining our FORUM Community where we discuss ideas and exchange information about all things connected to wellness and digital well-being.
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