When I was younger and I got my first smartphone, the idea of not having it next to me was insane. I would carry it with me everywhere I went, and going to bed with it wasn’t an exception. There were times back in primary school when my phone would be confiscated during the week so that I could concentrate on my studies, and so when the weekend came I wanted it with me at all times. It was like a reunion with a long-distant boyfriend. My phone and I were inseparable. I knew it was wrong to sleep next to your phone at night, but I just pushed the thought as far away as possible. In fact, I slept with my phone right under my pillow.
The epiphany that I was harming my body came when one day when there was a news story about someone who had been electrocuted. This, according to me, is one of the worst ways to die. Aside from that, I knew for sure that I had a lot more to offer this life before I move to the next one. So I vowed to put my phone as far away from me as possible when I was going to bed.
Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t sleep next to your electronic devices.
- It can prevent you from sleeping
So many people complain about their sleeping patterns (me included) and yet we don’t look into our habits before and when we go to sleep. Perhaps sleeping with your electronics next to you is the problem. LED screens which include cell phones, tablets, TVs, and other gadgets, give off blue light; a type that studies have suggested to impede the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and disrupt our circadian rhythms.
Blue light emits wavelengths similar to daylight, which can deceive our bodies to think that it’s daytime, at any time. Studies suggest that this blue light can inhibit the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and therefore keep you up all night.
- You can set your pillow on fire
Many people tend to have a habit of placing their phones or electronics right under the pillow when they are asleep, and more often than not the device is connected to a charger. Chargers that are not original may sometimes not follow all the safety conditions, and this may create a fire hazard.
Electrical Safety First found that the chargers that often contained faulty parts were at risk of overheating, could catch fire, or even cause a fatal electrical shock. A U.S fire department revealed that 53% of children and teens charge their phone or tablet either on their bed or under their pillow. But it’s not just children. In 2016, a 53-year-old man died in a house fire caused by the overheating of an iPhone 5 battery which was plugged in to charge overnight.
- It could increase your risk of getting cancer
This song has been sung so many times that people even seem to ignore it nowadays. So many foods and practices have been linked to causing cancer, and the ironic result? People decide that You Only Live Once (YOLO). However, this disease is a major cause of death in our world today and I believe that if we actually followed some of these precautions the cases would reduce by a large number. Sleeping with your electronic device next to you can cause brain cancer.
After evaluating several studies on the possibility of a connection between cellphones and cancer, members of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to people.
The California Department of Public Health warns that sleeping with your phone in your bed, or near your head, could increase the risk of brain cancer. Phones emit radiofrequency energy, which some scientists believe could increase the risk of brain cancer, and tumours of the acoustic nerve and salivary glands.
4. Can cause neurological effects
Neurons are electrically excitable cells in the nervous system that function to process and transmit information. As per a publication on the US National Library of Medicine, the thermal and non-thermal effects of having mobile phones close to the body may cause adverse health problems such as impairment of short term memory and an increase in the frequency of seizures in epileptic children.