Technology is so tightly integrated with our lives that we almost never part with it. Indeed, smartphones and tablets accompany us everywhere: whether it’s at dinner at an expensive restaurant or training in a fitness club. You hardly have to go far for examples of this: personally, every morning I almost start my day updating my Twitter feed and sending the most interesting articles to Pocket. The same situation is observed late in the evening: social networks, documents, books, and other little things are always at the center of my attention. Research has shown that using a smartphone before going to bed is extremely undesirable. Why? Let’s try to figure it out.
What’s the problem?
The main reason gadgets destroy the integrity of our sleep is what’s hidden in them. No, it’s not a sloppy voice assistant or a fingerprint scanner, as you might think ⎼ it’s the component that absolutely all sensor smartphones have, a large and bright display.
Numerous experiments have proven that a device’s artificial light can fool the human brain. It receives a signal of light, thinks it’s still daylight outside and suspends melatonin production – a chemical that causes us to sleep.
University of Michigan researcher Russell Johnson discovered that smartphones are our constant companions – right down to bedtime. While TVs, computers and tablets are usually what keeps us in our seats, a smartphone mostly travels in the palm of our hand. This, in turn, keeps us in constant mental activity, preventing our brain from freeing itself from certain processes.
Where are the numbers?
The negative impacts of this are not exhaustive. Among other things, smartphone screens show a light blue tint. Harvard Health Research Center employees found through many experiments that blue light has the most harmful effect on human sleep. For example, compared to the green tint of a brightness level, blue blocks melatonin production almost twice as long. There is also a shift in circadian rhythms, from about 1.5 to 3 hours.
Circadian rhythms are a kind of internal clock in our body. The failure of this rhythm can lead to general health deterioration, weakening of the immune system and the introduction of diseases.
How do you protect yourself?
Naturally, the best way to protect yourself from the negative effects of blue light is to refuse to use your phone after the sun goes down. However, doing such a thing can be fraught with complications as we need our phones for work, relationships, and other important things. Therefore, you should at least remember to reduce the brightness of the display to its minimum level or use the phone’s nightlight function, if it has one. You don’t want your brain to be tricked into making you lose sleep, do you?