You’ve just finished checking all your social media platforms one last time. Rolling over, and putting your phone next to you, you plug your phone into the charger hanging off your bedside table. While you finally fall into a deep sleep, your phone continues to light up throughout the night, faithfully notifying you of everything in the cyberspace you care about.
A text from your ex, ten more followers liking your Instagram post, snapchats, you name it. Finally, your phone alarm goes off, and you roll back over and resume scrolling on the tiny screen, continuing where you left off last night. Unfortunately, countless users like you are unaware of the detrimental effects of your phone, as it remains close to you during the night.
1. Cell phones emit radiation, whether they are being used or not.
This is because they constantly radiate electromagnetic waves to base stations. When a phone sends a signal to a tower, this energy goes out of the device in all directions—including into the bodies of those sleeping nearby. During nighttime, this invisible radiation can cause nightmares, inability to sleep, or restlessness. It disturbs circadian rhythms necessary to keep us asleep throughout the night. We may not feel any waves, but as long as your phone is on, it can disrupt normal bodily functions.
2. Electronic devices, not just cell phones, are known to increase the chances of developing cancer.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these devices can cause brain cancer and tumors in the salivary glands and acoustic nerve. In males, increased cell phone use could reduce sterility and reduced sperm quality. Although the exact causes of these toxic effects are still unknown, cell phones’ nature to continuously send out radio signals is one of the detrimental effects of your phone.
3. Having your phone in an easily accessible place while you sleep can increase anxiety.
Especially if you’re waiting for that particular text or call, some may go as far as to keep their phones under their pillow, resulting in an increased risk of aforementioned effects. If the device overheats, it can also possibly cause immediate harm. If you know you won’t be hearing any news until morning, it’s best to move the device to another room instead of putting your phone next to you, so you won’t be constantly clicking open the screen through the night, feeling compelled to check for another update.
So how can you lessen some of these harmful effects?
One easy way, as mentioned, is to reduce phone use during the night. As a result, your exposure to radiomagnetic waves are decreased. In fact, moving your phone to another room can eliminate them altogether. If you can’t see the little screen, you won’t be able to check it. Switch to an old school alarm clock that will get you up in the morning instead.
If you can’t bear to part ways with your phone yet, turning the device to airplane Mode or powering it off can help too. As WiFi and roaming data functions are turned off, your phone will emit less dangerous radiomagnetic waves. While you won’t be able to see all your notifications in a list the next morning, you won’t be disturbed by your screen constantly lighting up during the night either. All the notifications can wait until morning.
Overall, establish a healthy routine of phone use; no more scrolling endlessly under the covers, or watching videos from a screen six inches away from your face at 3 am. Know when it’s time to put your phone down every night and don’t touch it again until morning. While scientists are still unsure of the exact causes and effects of increased phone use, keeping your phone away from a good night’s sleep rather than putting your phone next to you is a step to counteracting the potential harmful threats to your health.