With some of the stories we’ve heard when it comes to the potential risks of sleeping with your cellphone, you’d think they were amongst the most dangerous devices around. Many of these supposed fears are still highlighted frequently in the media. But is there truth behind these claims? Let’s take a look at three popular reasons argued as to why people say you shouldn’t be sleeping with your cellphone.
A Fire Hazard
We all watched with horror as videos and images began to emerge in 2016 about Samsung smartphones that were exploding due to an internal battery problem. So, if you are sleeping with your cellphone, is there an innate risk of it becoming a hot, molten ball of fire? The answer is possibly, depending on circumstance. The problem with that Samsung device in particular was an irregular battery shape, which caused overheating. It came down to poor, rushed manufacturing.
That said, there are a couple rules you can follow. First, charge your phone on a table rather than inside the sheets of your bed. The latter can be a perfect opportunity to roll over on top of your phone and cause it to overheat. Don’t be one of the 63% of 18-29 year olds that do this in the US! Second, use first-party chargers and avoid strange, super cheap internet knockoffs. Third, unplug your device if it feels like it’s getting too hot. That’s all you need to protect yourself when sleeping with your cellphone!
But Don’t They Cause Cancer?
The jury is still out on this one. Yes, it’s absolutely true that phones do emit very subtle electromagnetic radiation. But we don’t know for certain exactly what this will do to humans over the long term. As a largely pre-emptive measure, the World Health Organization proclaimed that cellphones are potentially carcinogenic or toxic. But again, in its summary, the National Cancer Institute says that evidence is still patchy – we don’t know for sure whether cellphones can cause cancer. Efforts to solve this dilemma are already underway, however, with the European-led COSMOS study, which will follow the impact of cellphone use on human health over 30 years. But if you can’t wait that long to find out, best leave your cellphone on a night stand rather than beside your head when you fall asleep.
What About My Sleep?
Actually, this one is pretty well researched at this point and the short answer is having your cellphone beside or in bed will probably impact your sleep. And that isn’t just because of annoying alerts at 3AM when your best friend likes your Facebook post. Studies coming out of Harvard in 2013 suggested that ambient, artificial light from your device can activate neurons in the brain, making us feel more awake when trying to fall asleep. In more technical terms, your device’s screen inhibits the production of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Some research also argues that the cellphone’s radiation, while not causing cancer, does impact the brain’s stress system, making it harder to stop checking your phone before bed and during night hours. Avoid the problem and put your phone somewhere else.
Cellphones are a quintessential part of modern life. They are our everything machines. But without taking proper care, they may also be a drain on your active lifestyle.