falling asleep with your cell phone disrupts sleep

A review of more than 20 studies reveals that researchers agree in declaring that using the phone before bed seriously affects our sleep hygiene and our health.

If I gathered all of you reading this right now in a room and asked you to raise your hand to those of you who are sleeping and looking at your cell phones, a large majority would surely do so. And if I asked those who didn’t get up if they left their phone on the nightstand or by the bed before going to bed, the majority of that group would say yes.

Well, you should know that a test of more than 20 studies carried out at various universities in Great Britain in this regard reveals unanimity among scientists when it comes to establishing that falling asleep with a mobile phone at hand or near it affects sleep negatively. This is not the first time we have talked about smartphones and health, especially the mental health of little ones. Well, for the not so young it also takes its course.

Among other things, the study reveals that there is consistent and fairly strong evidence showing that electronic devices affect the quantity and quality of our sleep at night and make us less productive during the day. The mere presence of a smartphone in the room is already harmful to us, as we said above.

Smartphones and falling asleep: a bad combination

Science has spoken: Falling asleep with your mobile phone disrupts your sleep

Using the phone before bed seriously disrupts our sleeping hours

Let’s get one thing straight: sleep is essential to our health, both physically and mentally. It is even more crucial for children’s development. Mobile devices and tablets have become ubiquitous objects in our waking hours as well as in our bedrooms.

Many users check their phone before bed: they consult social networks, watch series on streaming platforms and even leave the phone near the bed while listening to a podcast to help them fall asleep. I myself belong to this last group.

This has caused us to fall into a cycle that is hard to break, which is anything but beneficial to our overall sleep hygiene. It is also very harmful to our mental and physical health as adults.

Science has spoken: Falling asleep with your mobile phone disrupts your sleep

Lack of sleep has a very negative effect on our productivity during the day

However, tweens are the most punished group. Children ages ten and older lose eight to nine hours of sleep each week. One of the studies included in the test highlights the emergence of TikTok and Instagram as platforms aimed at younger people. Both social networks are held responsible for instilling in them a fear of missing out, which excludes them from the mainstream of their age group.

The main side effect of lack of sleep is the high risk of falling into depression. Data obtained from hundreds of teenagers revealed that those who use social media the most before turning off the lights have more difficulty sleeping, which is strongly linked to mental health problems.

It is a kind of chain reaction: young people spend more hours awake, which causes them to have more depressive symptoms than those who do not use social networks before bed. These effects can also translate into poorer academic performance, according to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh.

The main effects of lack of sleep on your body

There is a wealth of literature of all kinds on sleep deprivation, but in this case let’s look at an informative article published in Healthline to understand how lack of sleep affects us:

  • Memory problems: It is during sleep that the brain creates connections between memories that help us process information and internalize it. Poor sleep has a huge impact on short- and long-term memory.
  • It is difficult to think and concentrate: Concentration, creativity and the ability to solve problems are qualities that are greatly affected when we do not get enough rest.
  • Mood swings: As we have already said, little sleep can contribute to falling into depression. In addition, you can have disproportionate reactions and it takes much less time to get angry.
  • We like to suffer and cause accidents: lack of sleep makes us less aware of our surroundings, which can be particularly dangerous on the street or in our workplace.
  • The immune system is weakened: Our defenses against common diseases are much weaker, so we can get sick much more easily.
  • High blood pressure: Sleeping less than five hours each night contributes to the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart problems.
  • Risk of diabetes: Lack of sleep also affects the release of insulin in the body. Without this hormone, we cannot naturally lower blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Weight gain: Sleeping little also affects the chemical signals that our brain receives to determine that we are already full. Without these signals, there is a greater risk of eating more than necessary and regularly.
  • Low sexual desire: Libido in people who do not sleep well is generally low. Testosterone and progesterone levels decrease with sleep deprivation.
  • Risk of cardiovascular disease: it is directly linked to hypertension. We are more likely to have cardiovascular disease with high blood pressure, also derived from lack of sleep.
  • Poor sense of balance: Sleeping too few hours makes us more prone to accidents on a daily basis.

Is there a solution?

sleep mode on Android

Android sleep mode is available on all mobiles.

The most important solution would be to use common sense and leave the phone (or tablet) in another room before going to bed. But since common sense is the least of the senses, and manufacturers already know it, there are features like Android Rest Mode to lighten things up a bit.

Why overcome it? Because according to a study by the University of Copenhagen, blue light from screens delays the release of melatonin in our body. This hormone is responsible for controlling our sleep cycle.

Apart from that, you can also enable the Do Not Disturb mode. This way we will not receive sounds or vibrations every time the phone receives a notification. We are also not notified of phone calls, which reduces the temptation to pick up the terminal every time we hear it vibrate.

Finally, the same study from the University of Copenhagen that we referred to earlier brings good news: It only takes one month to reverse the negative effects we have described so far. We know it’s hard, but limiting phone use during these four weeks can be crucial to getting back to quality sleep.

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