Biohacking News

Using Smartphones in Bed Proven to Harm Sleep Quality

July 30, 2023

Biohackers looking to improve sleep may have heard about the relationship between screen use close to bed time and sleep quality. Researchers at the University of Uola in Finland have done a crucial study. They have proven that using a smartphone in bed significantly reduces your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Smartphone Use in Bed Means Big Delays in Falling Asleep

Specifically, they found, “The use of smartphones can significantly delay falling asleep and cause awake periods later on.” Those who did not use the smartphone in bed took 12 minutes to fall asleep. Those who used the smartphone in bed for 20 minutes took 28 minutes to fall sleep! Think about it like this: it could take a total of 48 minutes of being in bed before you’re asleep, if using the phone for 20 minutes. Or it could take just 12 minutes, one quarter of the time to fall asleep with no smartphone use!

Of course, these are averages, your time to fall asleep with no smartphone may be longer than 12 minutes. But the significant delay in falling asleep if you use your smartphone in bed still applies to you. You can only make your process of falling asleep even longer by using the phone in bed. The researchers state, “Roughly speaking, every 5 minutes you spend on your smartphone while in bed, your sleep is delayed by 4 minutes.”

You Need it Dark to Best Fall Asleep

The light from the phone screen plays an important role in disrupting sleep. As the researchers explain, “The light emitted from the screens of smartphones is strong in the blue part of the visible spectrum of light. That type of light strongly stimulates retinal ganglion cells containing melanopsin. Stimulation of those cells causes secretion inhibition of melatonin and decreases sleepiness. Therefore, using a smartphone during the night causes a delay in melatonin secretion and disrupts the sleep-wake cycle.”

Certain Apps Categories and Social Media are Particularly Bad for Sleep

The researchers kept track of which smartphone apps were being used. They found that those using photography, entertainment, and gaming apps while in bed suffered a decrease in sleep quality. Use of News applications at any time of day was harmful to sleep quality.

Social media has also been demonstrated to have a negative impact on sleep quality. The Finnish researchers referenced studies which have demonstrated several key facts. First, using social media at night leads to lower sleep quality. Second, in general, people with more time spent on social media per day and per week have far more sleep disturbances. Third, more generally, “Altogether, studies revealed that overuse of technology can lead to poor sleep quality.” A very large number of studies are cited by the Finnish researchers to support that particular conclusion.

Unplug Yourself for Better Sleep!

Here’s what you need to remember if you’re trying to improve sleep quality. Do not use the smartphone in bed. Spend less time on social media and less time on smartphone news apps. Consider decreasing your overall use of technology, unplug yourself a bit. Sleep is key to health and success in life; use what researchers have found to improve your sleep!