Sound notifications from your smartphone at night and scrolling through social media before bed can reduce the quality of your sleep. How to make sure your smartphone doesn't harm your mental and physical health?
Very few people today do not use a mobile phone at all, and the number of those who literally do not part with a smartphone numbers hundreds of millions around the world. However, among users there are those who want to limit their time with a smartphone. Surely you know people who take a "day off" from their gadgets or turn off their phones at night while sleeping. And almost every one of us has ever wondered: is radiation from mobile devices dangerous to our health?
Is it dangerous to carry a phone all the time and leave it nearby when we sleep?
Mobile phones and tablets emit non-ionizing radiation, which is low-level radio frequency energy. Scientists regularly conduct studies to provide evidence of the health effects of exposure to cell phone radiation. The FDA, which sets health standards in the United States, believes that to date there is no scientific evidence of the impact of radiation from mobile devices on human health. Studies from public health institutes and research centers in other countries have also found no link between exposure to radiofrequency energy from cell phone use and health problems.
Of course, for mobile devices there are standards and limits for radio frequency emissions established by official regulators. Government agencies responsible for equipment safety ensure that smartphones meet acceptable radiation levels. One of the last cases of such control occurred in September 2023, when Apple was forced to release a software update for the iPhone 12 in France to take into account the requirements of the regulator.
After relevant studies, the Agency for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission found no evidence of carcinogenicity of radiation from mobile devices in either children or adults. However, the organization stresses that the current research is not sufficient to completely rule out any human exposure to this type of radiation. "The totality of epidemiological evidence indicates that cell phone use for less than 10 years does not pose an increased risk of brain tumor or acoustic neuroma. For longer-term use, data are sparse and therefore any conclusions are uncertain," the agency's report said.
So far, the only evidence that mobile phones may have an impact on people's well-being is self-reported symptoms, such as fatigue or headaches. But this is already enough to at least not abuse the frequent use of mobile devices, and also take some measures to protect yourself from the possible negative effects of mobile phone radiation.
Try to avoid using your smartphone before going to bed
On a smartphone, we view numerous news, videos and posts on social networks, which often results in procrastination and can lead to addiction to your gadget. And it is obvious that this stream of visual content puts us in an excited state, which does not fit in with relaxation and restful sleep. As a result, our alertness increases, which puts stress on our body and can lead to mental and physical health problems. Looking through social networks in bed is a habit that children and teenagers pick up especially quickly.
But not only the content we watch, but also the light from the smartphone screen itself can harm your sleep. The human body depends on the change of light and dark times of the day, and during sleep it produces a hormone that is very necessary for us, melatonin. Scientists have noticed that turning on lights in the middle of the night can confuse our body and cause insufficient melatonin production. The same effect is caused by light emanating from the display of a smartphone or laptop.
Many devices and apps offer what's called a screen night mode, which switches daylight blue light wavelengths to softer red light in red wavelengths. In the dark, our eyes are less tired of the screen, so using night mode is very useful. However, some studies suggest that switching to a nighttime routine does not have a positive effect on the quality of our sleep. In particular, a preliminary study by a team of scientists published in the journal of the TriBeta Biological Society did not find a significant positive correlation between using red light spectrum colors as backlight and improving sleep quality.
Is it good to leave your phone near your bed?
If you leave your phone next to your bed at night, it's always tempting to accidentally wake up in the middle of the night to see if there are any new messages or news. Your body will interpret this as the start of the day and your quality sleep will be disrupted. We highly recommend putting your smartphone in plane mode when you sleep so that pop-up messages don't bother you. In general, it's better to put it in another room, and if you need to wake up for work, then use a classic alarm clock.