Let’s face it, we all like to browse the Net, play a game, or use some new application on the smartphone before going to bed. You might want to check the weather forecast for the next day, chat with your friends, or see the pictures you took that afternoon.
You may even believe it helps you get to sleep. Unfortunately, what seems like a perfectly innocent habit may be doing your health serious harm.
Researchers are constantly examining the effects of smartphones on our health and wellbeing and their findings are not positive. Apparently, the blue light emitted by smartphones causes some pretty serious health issues.
“Blue light is part of the full light spectrum, which means we’re exposed to it by the sun every day. However, nighttime exposure to that light, which is emitted at high levels by smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other LED screens, may be damaging your vision. It also suppresses production of the hormone melatonin, which throws off your body’s natural sleep cues.”
Here are 3 serious reasons why you need to stop using your smartphone at night:
1. Eye damage
There is some evidence that blue light can damage our vision by harming the retina over time and causing macular degeneration (the loss of central vision, or the inability to see what is right in front of you).
Artificial blue light is one of the shortest, highest energy wavelengths in the visible light spectrum. Because they are shorter, the wavelengths flicker more easily, which creates a glare that can reduce visual contrast and affect sharpness and clarity.
This is often the case for why people experience digital eyestrain and suffer from symptoms like blurry vision, difficulty focusing, dry and irritated eyes, headaches, neck and back pain, after a days work at the computer.
2. Sleep loss
Blue light disrupts melatonin production, which directly translates to sleep loss. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the body’s sleeping cycle. If your sleep cycle isn’t properly regulated, you won’t be getting the amount of sleep you truly need. Over time, not getting enough sleep leads to further health problems such as heart disease, obesity, depression, and premature aging.
3. Higher risk of cancer
Melatonin is one of the most important antioxidants that our body produces naturally. Since melatonin is suppressed by blue light emitted from smartphones and tablets, then your body is essentially being depleted from this powerful antioxidant. Disrupting melatonin production for one night wouldn’t be a serious issue, however, some people are on their phone chronically from night to night for hours at a time.
Lack of sleep can raise your risk of breast, colorectal and prostate cancer, to be specific. Lack of melatonin means a higher risk of cellular damage, higher inflammation rates and disruption of normal immune function (all 3 major roles that melatonin is involved in preventing).
Whether you need the full eight hours of rest or are one of those rare people who can wake up rested after four, it is important to keep the phone out of your bedroom so each of those hours provides maximum rest.