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Photo: Shieldyourbody.com

If you are like most people, the last thing you look at before going to sleep (and the first thing you see upon awakening) may be your phone. How might this impact your ability to sleep and contribute to insomnia? Should you sleep with your phone in the bedroom? What are the potential harmful effects of keeping a phone near you in bed?

Consider how sleeping near a phone may impact your ability to sleep, and changes that you can make tonight to help yourself to sleep better.

Modern phones in our daily life

Phones have been around since Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone in 1876. It is only in the last several decades that a dramatic change has occurred, both in their function and role in our lives. No longer solely a way to speak with someone at a distance, modern phones have a variety of roles.

Mobile, cell, or smartphones are now fully integrated into our daily lives. These marvels of technology function as pocket-sized computers. With them, we can perform many activities necessary for modern living.

You can phone calls, send text messages, map a route, surf the Internet, respond to emails, and interact via social media like Facebook and Twitter. You can also play games and use apps to perform a stunning array of tasks. It should be no surprise that these functions may also have the potential to intrude upon our sleep.

Harmful effects of putting smartphone in bed while sleeping

You could set your pillow on fire

A Texas teen recently woke up to a burning smell. The cause? Her Samsung Galaxy S4, which was under her pillow, had partially melted and it scorched her sheets and mattress, too. More specifically, it seems like a non-Samsung replacement phone battery was to blame: the phone's instruction manual warns against using incompatible cell phone batteries and chargers. The manual also notes that there's a risk of a fire if the gadget is covered by bedding or other thick material. Bottom line: Stick to phone accessories from the original manufacturer, and don't leave your cell on your bed, as noted by Health.

Reducing sleep

Many of these activities may prompt a compulsive desire to continue refreshing, checking, responding, reading, scrolling, posting, clicking, or playing. It feels good and there is a limitless opportunity for additional stimulation.

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Photo: Ladders.com

It may be tough to stop and put the device away. This alone may lead to a delay in bedtime and reduced total sleep time. This may contribute to sleep deprivation if the needed hours of sleep to feel rested are not obtained.1 The stimulation may make it hard to shut down and fall asleep. The mind may be overly excited or activated, according to Verywellhealth.

In addition, the light from phone, tablet, or computer screens may impact the ability to fall asleep. Small amounts of artificial light from the screens may cause a delay in the circadian rhythm.

This may be especially impactful on night owls with a naturally delayed sleep phase. If morning sunlight is not obtained to counteract these effects, insomnia and morning sleepiness may result.

Health problems

That blue light that emanates from your phone’s screen can actually delay the release of melatonin and set your internal clock to a later schedule. It can also lead to losing REM sleep and leave you waking up groggy, even if you did get a good few hours. Not to mention having to fight the urge to check your phone for one more Tinder match before going to sleep. When your phone is so close to you, the urge to tap, scroll, and swipe is that much greater.

Headaches, muscle pains, and other complicated health issues can stem from the cell phone’s radiation. Most smartphones emit a transmission signal around 900MHz, which doesn’t need to be close by you at all times, as regarded by Wingalpha.

As confirmed by the World Health Organization, electronic devices at large produce toxic effects that can increase a person’s chances of getting cancer! WHO limited phone’s health risk to two types of tutors, and labeled it as “inadequate” for other forms of cancer. While cell phones do give off a small amount of electromagnetic radiation, there’s no definitive research that shows phone usage leads to cancer.

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