If you ask a roomful of people who sleeps next to their iPhone, there’s a decent chance almost all of them will raise their hands. Those who don’t will probably have a story about how they once missed a super important call in the middle of the night and how their significant others made them promise to change their ways.
We may think resting our heads within a few inches of our iPhone is the responsible, adult thing to do so that we’re always around during an emergency. But health experts say sleeping beside your iPhone can actually be dangerous to your health. Here are 6 reasons you should reconsider:
1. You might “sleep text.” Believe it or not, sleep texting is a new phenomenon–one that isn’t going to do you any favors if you’re attempting to keep yourself from contacting an ex. “Because people are spending 24/7 attached to their phones, the phone has become an extension of themselves,” says Tom Kersting, a psychotherapist and the author of the upcoming book, Disconnected: Why and How We Should Rescue our Kids from Electronic Devices. “In other words, texting has become so pervasive, so normally ingrained in our subconscious, that there are many stories of people sending text messages while they are asleep, and regretting what it is they sent after they find out about it.”
2. Your FOMO can cause sleep problems. Just one more glance at Instagram often leads to 12 more glances and a few text messages thrown in for good measure. “People have become so addicted to the attention and interaction via texting and social media that they become compulsive to the point where they feel the need to respond to every post and text,” Kersting says. “This can go on until all hours of the night, causing major sleep deprivation issues.”
3. Microwave radiation. “Although mobile phones emit small amounts of microwave radiation, which should be harmless, researchers now believe that because the phone is always so close by that the exposure year after year will lead to brain tumors,” Kersting says. “They fear that the younger generation may develop brain tumors in their 30s as it takes many years for tumors to take root.”
4. Your cell’s blue light disrupts the body’s melatonin. The blue light emitted from a cell phone disrupts the body’s ability to produce melatonin, says Dr. James Rouse, sleep expert and author of more than 13 books on sleep and personal wellness. This disruption can seriously compromise your sleep and health. “Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep cycles,” Rouse says. “As a result, the blue light signals the body that is is daytime. Give yourself a digital sunset — about an hour before bed, give yourself the permission to power off.”
5. Your cell phone could start a fire. If you love your cell phone so much that you actually charge it and keep it under your pillow or blanket, you are risking your life, according to the New York City Police Department, which issued a warning about the practice this year. Reports about cell phones exploding after being sandwiched between a pillow and the mattress began emerging in 2014, reminding us to keep our phones on a flat surface at all times so that they can stay ventilated.
6. Your skin can suffer — The blue light emitted by your iPhone, also known as high energy visible light, penetrates deep beyond skin’s surface, says Kristen Robinson, Murad Director of New Product Development. “It creates damage by causing our cells to produce reactive oxygen species,” Robinson says. “This process causes premature aging called photo-aging. Signs of photo aging include loss of the skin’s elasticity, dryness and also fine lines, which effects both short and long term damage.” If, for some reason, you can’t un-plug during the evening, Robinson recommends using the “night shift” iPhone mode that casts a softer amber glow and reduces blue wavelength emission. “A great approach to love your skin while loving your phone/devices is to consistently use a skincare regimen with potent antioxidants, ingredients to deflect or absorb blue light and/or detoxifying agents to help reduce the stressors or the impact of stressors our skin is regularly bombarded with/exposed to,” Robinson says.
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