Portneuf Health Partners

March 13th, 2019

Should Cell Phones Be a Part of Your Nightly Routine?

How often is your cell phone out of reach? Cell phones have become a huge part of our everyday lives. This digital device has become a source of information, internet access and communication. While it often makes our lives easier, it has the potential to cause harm to your mental and physical wellness. Digital devices can steal more time than expected and, without self-control, can do more harm to your health, especially around bedtime.

Using a digital device around bedtime can worsen your quality of sleep and here’s why:

Blue light is detrimental to your sleep patterns. Blue light, which is the wavelength from devices, tricks your brain into thinking you are in sunlight. When your brain thinks it is daytime, it delays melatonin production; melatonin is the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. When your melatonin is delayed, it becomes harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Notifications will wake you up. The sound of a ring tone, text tone or notification while you are in bed will surely disturb the process of falling asleep or staying asleep. If you’re afraid to turn your phone on silent in case of an urgent call, look into your phone settings as many phone settings will allow calls to come through from assigned individuals, even on silent mode. Most smartphones have a sleep schedule where you can set the times for your cell phone to go on and off silent mode.

Your stress levels will increase. Checking your emails and texts may add more stress and make you feel the urgent need to respond. Stressing over emails and messages before going to sleep may increase cortisol levels, ultimately, pushing off melatonin production.

As you get ready for bed, it is important to limit your usage of electronic activities. If you absolutely must have your cell phone near you, turn on the silent mode, some phones also refer to this as “Do Not Disturb” mode. Check if your phone screen can also go into a night mode, which primarily uses red light instead of blue light making the screen less intense and dimmer for your eyes.