“Okay, I’ll read one more article, then set an alarm on my smartphone, and go to sleep” – does this sound familiar to you? The crazy fast rhythm of our modern lives made us nearly tied up to our cell phones and tablets, we even take them to our beds and almost share with them the intimate process of sleeping. Anyway, there are some hidden dangers that you may have never even heard about, which can come with this habit. For all of you out there who sleep close to their smartphones, this article will show how dangerous this habit can actually be.
Danger 1: Sleep Deprivation
- Smartphones are addictive, there is no secret in it. The time you open your browser or log into a social network, you become lost for the whole world for an indefinite time, which can turn into hours. Each of us knows how tricky can be thoughts like “Just one more video/article/message, and I’ll turn my phone off”. This “just one video” turns into two, three, or even ten of those, prolonging the time you stay attached to your phone.
- Smartphone addiction makes you procrastinate your sleep. Such procrastination may not be that harmful during the daytime, but it is very dangerous and tricky when you are getting ready to sleep. Even if you go to bed early and have enough time to have a quality good night sleep, grabbing your smartphone will ruin your plans. Even though you feel like you are already in bed and are almost sleeping, you are still awake. In this case, all these “last videos” and “last articles” steal the precious time from your body and take away your opportunity to have a proper rest.
- There is a strong correlation between using smartphones in bed and sleep deprivation. Being online when you are already in bed is definitely not a good idea, as it can keep you awake for hours. One study from New Jersey showed that out of 3,000 high and middle school students, 62% used smartphones while they were in bed, and 66% confirmed that it doesn’t allow them to get a good night sleep. We have already talked about how bad sleep deprivation can be for your physical and mental health. If you don’t want to experience those consequences, you’d better stay away from your smartphone before and during your bedtime.
Danger 2: Fear of Missing out
Texting is one of the most popular things people use their smartphones for in bed. It is not only time consuming, but also leaves us waiting for an answer. This condition is sometimes called FOMO – fear of missing out. It does not allow your brain to fully rest and relax because it is constantly waiting for an answer or an update. It makes you either nervous or excited, which interferes with the ability to have a proper night’s sleep.
Even if you go to bed at a proper time and manage to ignore your smartphone during the time you actually lay in bed, there is a high chance that FOMO will ruin your sleep. When you are already in bed but for some reason cannot fall asleep for 5 minutes or so, you will probably feel the urge to check your mail or scroll through your feed. Don’t do it, it’s a trap! The second you reach for your phone instead of trying to relax a little bit more is the moment you decide to trade your good night’s sleep to another time of procrastinating online. Forget about the online world and let your brain relax if you want to be fresh and well rested next morning.
Danger 3: Unintentional waking up
- Messages disturb your sleep. Even if you don’t have FOMO, messages and news from the online world still can disturb your sleep. You cannot control the online activity of your friends, and during night, their constant messages can wake you up, which is definitely not great for a good sleep. The solution is simple and you can find further in the article.
- They restrain you from going back to sleep. In addition, there is a risk that you will wake up because of a message in the middle of the night, and then decide to answer it. There is a high chance that this decision will steal the precious sleeping time from you and you will wake up feeling beaten down.
For sure, there is an easy way to eliminate this danger by setting your smartphone to the silent or airplane mode. It will make you out of reach for your friends during the night and will assure you that no messages will not disturb you during the night.
Danger 4: Gadgets Lower Your Melatonin Levels
Melatonin is the hormone which makes us sleepy and helps us fully relax and get a proper rest at night. However, a few researches have concluded that smartphones, laptops, TVs and other gadgets actually suppress the melatonin levels.
Our ancestors built their sleeping cycles and patterns in connection with the daily rhythms of the nature around them. Thus, they went to sleep when it got darker, and woke up with the sunlight. Their sleeping habits strongly affect the way our processes of sleeping happen today because they still strongly depend on the amount of light we have around.
Darker environment sends a signal to the brain that it is time to get ready for bed, so hypothalamus starts to produce melatonin, a hormone which helps us fall asleep. You can find a more detailed explanation of this process in this video. However, taking gadgets to bed highly affects this process.
Scientists say that the screens of the devices we use radiate the so-called “blue light”, which is similar to the white light produced by the Sun. Using gadgets before sleep makes the brain think that it is not time to sleep yet, so it stops producing melatonin. This process not only changes the patterns and cycles of sleep, but also makes you sleep less. For sure there are some gadgets which have the fiction which allows to turn off their blue light, but the scientists are still not entirely sure whether it is safe for the melatonin levels.
According to the researches, it would benefit your sleep to restrain using gadgets 3 hours before you go to bed. So if you want to have a good sleep nest night, choose reading a paper book instead of your friends’ feed.
Having a laptop, a smartphone, or a TV in your bedroom will not harm your sleep, but using these devices before or during your bedtime can ruin your sleep.
- Using gadgets in bed leads to sleep deprivation
- The blue light from gadgets suppress your melatonin levels
- Messages wake you up
- Smartphone addiction leads to FOMO – fear of missing out
Try to remember that your bedtime is the opportunity for your body to relax and get ready for another day, so don’t let your smartphone ruin it.