If you sleep next to your cell phone, you can be sure that you won’t miss a call, text or email; however, research has shown that this can be detrimental to your health. If your cell phone is near your head, under your pillow or on your nightstand, find another place to keep it during the night.
It’s no secret that cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation, but is it harmful? The CDC says there is no evidence of harm. However, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer calls the radiation “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” and recent research – including an ominous 2009 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology – has reached similar conclusions.
Given the growing concern about cell phone safety, Dr. Devra Davis – author of Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Is Doing to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family – believes it makes sense to limit cell phone radiation exposure. Unfortunately, she says, many cell phone users make silly mistakes that increase their radiation exposure.
Some people get so attached to their phones that they sleep with them on their nightstands or even under their pillows. Bad idea. Cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation when they’re on – which means if you sleep with a cell phone nearby, you’re exposed to increased radiation throughout the night. What to do. Put the cell phone in flight mode (which turns off the transceiver) or turn it off. If you need to be available for calls, place the phone a few feet away from your bed.
How far away should your cell phone be when you sleep?
Your cell phone should be at least three feet away from your bed to reduce exposure to radio frequency energy. If you must use your cell phone as an alarm clock, put it in airplane mode to prevent it from sending or receiving calls and text messages.
The radiation emitted by cell phones is minor, but it can disrupt your sleep. If you need to use your smartphone as an alarm clock, turn on airplane mode, increase the volume of the alarm clock, and place it at least three feet away.
The risk of radiation exposure is low
There are many people who claim that cell phones cause cancer. Currently, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support this claim.
In a 1999 study by the National Toxicology Program, rats were exposed to high rates of radiofrequency radiation from cell phones. Signs of benign and malignant tumors were found in the hearts, brains and adrenal glands of the test rats.
However, the FDA says that “nearly 30 years of scientific evidence have not established a link between exposure to radiofrequency energy from cell phone use and health problems, such as cancer.”
Because there are conflicting scientific studies and information, it’s hard to know what your best course of action should be when it comes to your cell phone.
Your cell phone emits small amounts of non-ionizing radiation, but only when it is in use. The only known side effect of this radiation is heating. Your cell phone will get hot if it has been in use for a while, and if you hold your cell phone up to your head to make a call, the surrounding body tissue may also heat up.
If you are concerned about possible radiation exposure, there are a few things you can do.
Keep your phone away from you when you sleep. If you receive calls or notifications during the night that increase your phone’s radio frequency radiation, it’s far enough away from you that you won’t be affected as much.
If you want to listen to music or a podcast while you sleep, use earbuds or a Bluetooth speaker.
If you want to further limit your exposure to cell phone radiation, try taking calls on speakerphone and not carrying your phone in your pocket. Putting more distance between you and your cell phone is key to reducing the minor effects that radio frequency radiation can have on you.
Why sleeping with your cell phone next to you is problematic
There are a few more reasons why having your cell phone within reach when you’re in bed is bad for you:
- You’re more likely to be browsing on your phone, which makes it harder for you to fall asleep and affects your sleep quality. The negative effects of using electronic media before bed are well documented and have a variety of reasons. For this reason, staying off your phone and other electronic devices before bed is considered an important aspect of sleep hygiene to improve sleep quality.
- The temptation to use your phone becomes greater when you wake up during the night. Normally, if you wake up in the middle of the night, you would just want to go back to sleep. However, when you have your phone nearby, you are tempted to check messages or do other unnecessary activities on your phone, which is obviously not good for your sleep.
- This makes it more likely that you will see your phone first thing in the morning. This is not a bad thing in itself, but you should consider if this is something you want for yourself. Basically, think about how looking at your phone right away at the start of the day affects your well-being in terms of factors like restlessness and productivity.
You probably won’t even notice too much of a difference if you have your phone a little further away from you when you sleep. But it will help you fall asleep better, sleep through the night and get a good night’s sleep. In this fast-paced world, a good night’s rest is very important.
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