Put That Phone Away! 

By Cierra Fields

90 percent of people in the U.S. admit that they use a technological device to help them relax at night. 71 percent of people sleep having their smartphone near them such as having it in bed with them, holding it in their hand, etc. Almost everyone, including people in Dallas, uses a smartphone, or an electronic device to entertain or help them relax right before bed. This is a horrible habit and can affect every individual’s health greatly. Using a smartphone is definitely not a problem, however, using your smartphone right before you go to sleep is.

Like almost every human, your phone lays right next to you every night when you go to sleep. You have the ability to answer calls, emails, texts instantly, and whenever you want. And isn’t that the most helpful and useful part of technology? Isn’t that why the smartphone was invented; to be connected with everyone no matter where you are, and at al times? All of that is true, except you may not even realize it affects your sleep and the most important part of your body; the brain and its health. What may seem like a non-effective habit, can actually lead to greatly impacting your overall health.

Smartphones were made to make life easier, entertain, provide information, and allow us to communicate with others. Smartphones can be useful and helpful in many ways, however, when it is time to go to sleep a smartphone is not needed to do that. The last thing we want for our brains’ before going to sleep is giving it more information to deal with. Each day we already have enough on our minds and do not need more information to handle especially before we go to sleep. 

If you are on your phone right before bedtime, it can prolong and affect your sleep. Dr. Walia says, “Checking your phone stimulates the brain so we are more active and awake. Even just a quick check can engage your brain and prolong sleep.” When you check your phone this keeps you awake for a longer period of time, which leads to bad habits. For example, Dr. Walia warns people and is against the idea of immediately having to respond to a notification. The smartphone generation has made us feel like we always have to be connected with others at all times, even when we are sleeping. This can affect us in many ways which leads to bad habits and therefore affects our overall health and brain. Sleeping is not supposed to consist of constantly being on your phone, opposingly, it consists of a happy, calming, and is relaxing your body in the “RIGHT” way. 

Another problem involved in using your phone at night is the blue light from the screen. The blue light from your phone is very bad for your vision, as well as your brain. According to research, it is found that the blue light has a “correlation between suppressed levels of melatonin and exposure to blue light.” The blue light from a phone is an artificial color that plays the role of the day and makes you feel more awake and alert. However, when going to sleep that is definitely not what you want, in fact, the opposite. The blue light is also very harmful, especially if you are using your phone before you go to sleep. Melatonin also plays a huge role in your sleeping cycle. Therefore, when your body is running low on the medication, it can lead to crankiness/ tiredness, insomnia, and irritability. 

Lastly, when scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, etc., before bed, most of the time you encounter something that may make you sad, upset, or basically just change your emotion. This gives you something else to worry about, and also prolongs your sleep. Similarly, if you see something that makes you happy, this can also create a response/ reaction which also delays your sleep adding something to ponder about. All of the emotions you may feel can leave you to stay awake for longer and can leave you feeling wide awake. This can also lead to anxiety, and depression, distractions, etc. 

Your phone is known to be a very useful “gadget” in your life, as it can make life easier and perform many tasks. However, through research, it is shown that it does the exact opposite when using your phone before going to sleep. It can lead you to many bad habits and affect your body, and health in many ways. 

This is avoidable. If you are one of the many nighttime electronic users, it is essential to create a schedule/ routine or rules to avoid using your phone when going to bed. You can also eliminate using screen time for one hour or even thirty minutes before going to bed. If you are truly struggling with not using your phone right before bed, you can keep your smartphone or device in a separate room, so it is not accessible at the time. Another option is adjusting your phone settings to minimize distractions and notifications during the night. Similarly, there are also many different apps and settings that can be adjusted or downloaded that do not give you allowable access to go on to any app at a certain time. Overall, there are many ways to avoid using an electronic device before going to sleep. 

All in all, using an electronic device before bed can lead to many problems and bad habits. There has been a lot of research proving that using you phone before bed is a very bad habit to have. Although a smartphone can be used for many purposes and makes us feel connected at all times, it is not a good option to use one at night. There are many ways we can avoid this situation, and it can help benefit many lives in the world especially in Dallas, TX!

 

Works Cited

 

hollowc2. “Put the Phone Away! 3 Reasons Why Looking at It Before Bed Is a Bad Habit.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 4 June 2019, health.clevelandclinic.org/put-the-phone-away-3-reasons-why-looking-at-it-before-bed-is-a-bad-habit/.

“How and Why Using Electronic Devices at Night Can Interfere With Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, 27 July 2017, www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bed.

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