The Hidden Danger Of Nighttime Smartphone Use
By Sara Wylie
After a long, tiring day, it’s sometimes nice to just curl up in your bed, let the darkness of your room encompass you and just relax while scrolling through this and that on your smartphone. It’s great – you get a chance to catch up on social media, browse the internet, watch Netflix, text a friend…
To be honest though, this relaxing activity really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I hate to break it to you, but staring at the illuminated light of your smartphone screen while you’re going to bed is actually quite harmful to your health.
The blue light emitted by your phone screen makes it so you can still see everything on your phone while standing in the bright light of the sun during the day, but when this same light is in your face during the night, it actually tricks your mind into thinking it’s still daytime.
This is detrimental in and of itself, because – when your mind is convinced it’s daytime – the hormone melatonin is suppressed.
Melatonin is the hormone that’s responsible for keeping your body’s biological clock in rhythm or, in simpler terms, the hormone that lets you know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake. Its secretion is triggered by the dark and limited by the light, so, if your mind thinks it’s daytime and you’re going to bed, sleeping is going to become a lot more difficult for you, because your body literally believes it isn’t time for you to sleep yet
And it doesn’t stop there. The consistent act of having your smartphone’s light in your face at night affects you mentally, physically and emotionally in several other detrimental ways.
Here is a list of 8 things that start to happen (and only get worse) each time you spend your time doing this “leisurely” nighttime activity.
1. Impairs Memory
Since using your phone at night throws off your melatonin and therefore your sleeping schedule, it leaves you more susceptible to becoming distracted as the hours slowly slip by and, by the time you get to sleep and the next morning crawls through your window, your memory may not be as “top notch” as it should be.
2. Affects Learning Ability
Once your sleeping schedule is thrown off and your body doesn’t want to sleep yet, you won’t get as good of a night’s sleep as you need. As a result of a poor night’s sleep, learning may become a lot more difficult for you than it has to be.
3. Could Damage Your Retina
There has been some research being conducted that suggests the consistent use of smartphones during the night hours can cause damage to your retina overtime. More research needs to be conducted in order to verify this – but really, why take the risk?
4. Triggers Cataract Development
Along with the research regarding the retina, researchers are also looking into how smartphone light could harm your vision altogether, eventually leading to cataracts that will slowly develop and worsen over time.
5. Neurotoxin Buildup
Consistently getting poor sleep can lead to the buildup of neurotoxins, which are chemical toxins that cause damage to your nerve tissue once they are developed and set free to wreak havoc throughout your body. Overtime, these only make sleeping become all the more difficult for you.
6. Causes Depression
Melatonin has been linked to common causes or triggers for depression. When melatonin consistently gets withheld and sleeping schedules become sporadic, people and their emotions become much more susceptible to taking on and being weighed down by depression.
7. Increases Risk Of Obesity
When melatonin gets thrown off, many other hormones start getting thrown off as well, including the hormones responsible for controlling hunger. This disruption can lead to overeating, which ultimately brings on the risk of obesity.
8. Raises Risk Of Cancer
Through studies and research, there has been a connection made between melatonin suppression, lack of sleep and the heightened risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Who would have thought that such a small, common device could cause such trouble?
Smartphones truly are a remarkable example of the ever-advancing technology in our time, but even they need to be used with caution and care. Using your smartphone at night may be relaxing and have a sense of release for you, but there are other safer, healthier ways such feelings can be accomplished. I personally love meditating as I lay down to go to sleep, or you can try playing some music as you drift off to sleep, or even listening to an audiobook or guided meditation.
Whatever you choose to do with that nice, quiet time you have right between your long day and the oncoming night of well-deserved sleep, be sure your smartphone is not near you. If you need to, you can set it somewhere on the other side of the room or dump it in a drawer. Just keep it off and away from YOU.
If you are already at the point where sleeping is difficult and your melatonin may be thrown off, take a look at this article about how you can help balance your body’s clock once again and get your melatonin producing properly – and naturally – again.
If you have any tips or thoughts about improving your night routine and keeping smartphones out of reach during the late hours, feel free to share with us in the comments below!
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Sara Wylie resides in Utah where she is currently working as an Editorial Intern for Fitlife.tv while also pursuing a career in writing. She hopes that through her words and fiery passion, she will be able to not only inspire others to seek out and nourish their own passions, but to also help others feel what it’s like to truly be alive.
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