Casey Boswell , Apr 15, 2014

How Cell Phones Affect Your Sleeping Patterns

Who uses an alarm clock these days? Not that many people; the minority. It is easy to use cell phones or a tablets as an alarm clock, and younger generations are extremely comfortable with this. They not only use their phone as an alarm, but they can check their social media accounts and text friends before going to bed; young professionals can look at emails; and several people use their phones to watch Netflix or Hulu. According to a study from Qualcomm, roughly 64% of young people sleep with their cell phone next to their bed.

cell phonesUsing a cell phone in the same room as you sleep can negatively affect your sleeping pattern. Not only are you being mentally stimulated by the content you are reading or watching, the LED lights in your phone are very disruptive. According to Harvard Professor Charles Czeisler, LED lights are not only bright but “without it, few people would use caffeine to stay awake at night. And light affects our circadian rhythms more powerfully than any drug.” That’s pretty shocking. Most people use their cell phones to help them relax and unwind when they get into bed. Little do they know that it is causing the opposite reaction, which is affecting their sleeping pattern. Try using an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, and a book to keep you entertained until you fall asleep. But if you can’t do this, try camping.

How do you fix the problem?

A short camping trip could fix the problem. A study conducted by Current Biology reported a one-week camping trip can dramatically improve one’s internal clock. Volunteers of the study said their “internal clocks shifted about two hours earlier, transforming night owls into early birds.” How could this be? Their melatonin levels became synchronized with nature. Melatonin is a hormone that helps the body sleep. Whenever we surround ourselves in light, melatonin levels stay at a low level. This is why we are awake during the day, and sleep at night. But since there is so much artificial light that surround us at night and early in the morning, our bodies get confused. According to the study, our natural melatonin levels rise around sunset and decline at sunrise. So if you want to fix the problem, you need to go outside for a little bit everyday, and stay away from tech gadgets at night.

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