Body & Fitness

Why you shouldn’t keep your mobile in the bedroom

Not getting enough sleep or waking up in the middle of the night - thanks to your smartphone - is doing you serious damage

Do you ever find yourself saying goodnight, turning off the light and jumping into bed ready for eight solid hours of sleep, only to lay awake for the next hour (or more) looking at Facebook, Twitter or the web on your smartphone?

Or maybe you’re one of the people that can actually put your head to the pillow and fall straight asleep, only to be woken up by the ping of a received text, Facebook message or invitation to the next level of the game you are currently obsessed with.

Either way, you’re not alone. New research states that eight out of 10 of us keep our phones on overnight and around half use mobile phones as alarm clocks.

But what you may not realise is that not getting enough sleep or waking up in the middle of the night – all thanks to your smartphone – is doing you some serious damage.

Keeping the phone beside us at bedtime keeps us ‘hypervigilant’ so our sleep is more likely to be disturbed, which can trigger all kinds of other problems, according to an insomnia expect.

Dr Guy Meadows, from The Sleep School in London, says it’s best to keep the bedroom free of mobile phones and all other electronic devices for that matter.

He says the main problem is the bright screen which lights up the room and effects the body’s natural rhythm and tricks it into thinking it’s daytime. That is also why reading an eBook on a phone or tablet before bed is more likely to keep you awake than help you nod off.

Sleep experts advise that screen time should end about two to three hours before you hit the hay.

Dr Meadows says that because we sleep in cycles of 1½-2 hours, with brief moments of waking in between that normally go unnoticed, “a flash of light or vibration of your phone from a text message at the wrong moment could make you fully conscious”.

“If you then check your phone, you’ll be stimulating the cognitive parts of your brain, too – which will really stop you sleeping.”

Then there is the concern about whether keeping a device that emits radio waves beside you while you sleep could be a future health issue.

Mobile phones do use electromagnetic radiation and there is some evidence that suggest it may affect the electrical activity in our brains while we sleep.

The experts all agree that taking your phone to be with you is not going to help you sleep and if you really want to turn off and catch some zzzs, switch it off.

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