The Damaging Effects of Using Your Smartphone at Night
When you curl up in bed each night, do you take your smartphone with you? Most people do. It might seem like the perfect opportunity to check your email, play a little Candy Crush, see what your friends are up to on social media or check tomorrow’s weather forecast.
A lot of research has been done on the effects of nighttime cell phone use, and it doesn’t look good. Your evening screen time can be jeopardizing your health and has been linked to some pretty serious health risks.
The moment you prioritize your health and start to implement important life changes is the exact moment you earn your #HealthHero status. You just have to take control. And in this case, it’s as simple as understanding why you should stop using your smartphone at night and making a few simple adjustments.
It can damage your eyes.
The blue light emitted from your personal electronic devices is part of the full light spectrum. We’re exposed to it by the sun each day, but nighttime exposure to that same light (which is emitted at high levels by smartphones, tablets, laptops and other LED screens) may be damaging your vision. (Business Insider)
Studies show that direct exposure to blue light can damage your retinas. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation warns that retinal damage caused by blue light could lead to macular degeneration, a condition that causes the loss of central vision.
While it hasn’t been proven, there may also be a link between blue light exposure and cataracts. More research is needed, but this is another possible risk that can be lessened or avoided by putting your phone away each evening.
If you can’t put the phone down at night, consider the Night Shift feature (iOS) or Twilight app (Andriod). Both adjust your screen colors to minimize blue light emissions to help protect your eyes.
It can interfere with your sleep.
Blue light disrupts the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycle. Not only will this result in more sleepless nights and fatigue, but can also lead to a variety of health problems including heart disease, weight gain, depression and anxiety. Learn more about the surprising effects of sleep deprivation here.
It can increase your risk of cancer.
In addition to regulating your sleep cycle, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant essential to your body’s ability to naturally fight against cancer. When your melatonin levels are suppressed, your risk for cancer – and other ailments – increases.
If your melatonin is disrupted for one night, it wouldn’t pose a serious threat. However, if you’re a chronic nighttime phone user, you significantly increase your risk of cellular damage, increased inflammation, healthy immune function and disease.
These are some pretty serious risks, which begs the question: Is it worth it?
I encourage you to tap into your power to take charge of your health and live your best life. Even small changes – as easy as the ones I hope you’ll read in my prescriptions below – can have a profound effect on your well-being. Be a #HealthHero and make your nights cell phone free! These simple adjustments will help protect your health and put some of these risks to bed.
Make healthy living a part of every day.
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
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- Shut your phone down at night. You’ll fall asleep faster, sleep better and wake up more refreshed without the distracting beeps and vibrations throughout the night.
- Keep your phone at least 3 feet away from your body. The greater the distance, the weaker the effects of electromagnetic radiation. If you use your phone as an alarm, placing it farther away will protect your health and force you to get up to turn it off in the morning. So long, snooze button!
- Check your phone only when you really need to. Don’t close yourself off from the world – and people – around you. Unless you have an immediate need to check something, keep the phone at a distance and be present in your environment. Get lost in actual conversation. Make face-to-face connections. Enjoy the scenery. You’ll notice some pretty cool things when you look up and purposefully engage in your surroundings.
Dr. Nandi is the Chief Health Editor at WXYZ ABC Detroit, a practicing physician and a renowned corporate wellness speaker, his appearances include TedX, college commencements, numerous charity functions and premier medical meetings such as Digestive Disease Week