Do you have the habit of checking your phone before going to bed? You might want to ease up on this routine as it has been shown to harm your chances of better sleep. Lack of quality sleep can lead to health problems and even shorten your life.
Sleep disorder specialist Harneet Walia has advised against the habit, as reported by clevelandclinic.org. She said that there were at least three reasons why it could interfere with our much needed peace of mind which is important for a good night’s sleep.
Most of us cannot be separated from our smartphones. Starting from the morning until the moment before getting into bed. Your thumb will constantly scrolling and your eyes will still be glued to the screen. Moreover, before going into bed, you would likely to open your social media or check on the email from the office.
However, experts and health researchers revealed that those habits can harm your health and also endanger your eyes.
The blue light from smartphone is sharp at night so it will not only affect the eyesight but also produce a melatonin hormone which responsible for your sleep deprivation. Based on Boldsky, here are the reasons why you should put your phone away before bedtime:
1. Affecting Sleep Cycle
The use of mobile phones regularly in the evening before bedtime can cause sleep deprivation because your mind may be too excited or activated. Besides, the compulsive desire to check your phone can delay your sleep time and reduce total sleep time.
2. Damaging your retina
The blue light emitted from mobile phones, or smartphones, have the shortest wavelength in which they are flickering faster. This affects the eyesight and in the long term, it can even damage your retina. According to American Macular Degeneration Association, the blue light emitted from smartphones can cause total damage to the retina and lead to macular degeneration.
3. High Risk of depression
Staring at your phone when you are supposed to sleep not only affects physical health, but also your mental health. When the blue light from mobile phones disrupts hormones and sleep patterns, you are at risk of depression. Also, low energy levels during the day, combined with sleep deprivation thoughts can also trigger a sense of weak emotional and mental state.
4. Prone to Cancer
The association of World Health stated that mobile phones cause cancer risk. Prolonged exposure from the blue light and its influence on the sleep pattern has been proven to increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
5. Affecting your memory
Contrary to its name as a ‘smart’ phone, excessive exposure from it can affect your brain. Using mobile phones at night makes your brain not to be able to repair the damaged brain connection during the day – the reason why you cannot think clearly after a sleepless night.
6. Damaging the eyes
When it’s dark and your eyes are exposed directly by the blue light, it will strain and sore your eyes. If it continues it will damage your eyesight permanently.
7. Emotional content disrupts REM sleep
Scrolling through social media will expose you to various kinds of emotions, ones that you might not be ready to handle.
Walia said that emotions, whether ignited by happy videos of puppies wagging their tails or by upsetting stories about world events, might trigger responses that will delay your sleep.
Emotions, thoughts and anxiety may creep into your mind and distract you from your much-needed sleep.
To reduce the ill effects of smartphones, Walia recommended cutting off exposure to screens one hour before bed. Her recommendation is not limited to smartphones but also includes television and tablets.
She strongly advised against keeping your phone underneath your pillow or within arm’s reach. Walia suggested putting it in a different room and opting instead for a clock radio if you need an alarm to wake you up in the morning.
If that is not possible, you can at least turn off your notifications before going to sleep to minimize distractions and help you snooze faster
8. Blue light from the screen suppresses melatonin
The blue light from your smartphone screen is physically harmful for both your eyes and your brain. Walia said that researchers found a correlation between suppressed levels of melatonin and exposure to blue light.
Melatonin is a hormone that controls the cycle of sleep and wakefulness. When your body does not produce enough melatonin, you experience insomnia, tiredness and irritability.
Walia said that the blue light emitted from smartphone screens is designed to mimic daylight, which might confuse your body clock. It may, as a result, confuse your internal sleeping and waking cycle.