I rolled over around 2:30 am this morning, only to realize I was sleeping on my smartphone. Typically, I keep my phone on the ground next to my bed, or perched on my windowsill charging. Recently, however, I plugged my 10-foot charging cable in at the end of my bed, and pulled it up all the way to the top of the bed, more specifically underneath my pillow where I can stash my phone after checking emails and scrolling through social media before hitting the hay. A bad habit, I know.
My thought process, though maybe not a great one, was that when my alarm goes off at a startling 5:05 am, I can easily switch it off and hop out of bed to make the 5:30 am CrossFit class. The harsh reality? Switch it off quickly and go back to sleep immediately, inevitably sleeping through CrossFit.
This morning, however, when I felt the side of my iPhone’s aluminum enclosure digging into me, I had a fleeting moment of panic, followed by curiosity. Am I in danger? Is the radiation being emitted from my phone actually affecting my overall health? And so, at 2:30 am, I HAD to start re-researching. (Yes, I’ve been here before with these exact same thoughts.)
And so I quickly found that, as I suspected, according to the Pew Internet Project, I am not alone. 44 percent of cell phone owners have snoozed with their phone next to their bed, to make sure they didn’t miss any crucial calls or texts during the night.
In 2011, the World Health Organization did warn that usage may be possibly carcinogenic to humans, especially in children, whose scalps and skulls are thinner than adults’, therefore more vulnerable to radiation. Scary! However, with that said, in 2014 the WHO stated, “To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” A bit of a relief.
Though, through my explorations, it is clear that there is a lack of scientific evidence that proves whether or not smartphone use causes cancer, or any other health issues for that matter. And, with most new devices, the actual amount of electromagnetic radiation emitted is not enough to cause any proven harm to your body. Plus, most of the radiation is emitted from the phones antenna, which is no longer as prominent in today’s smartphones as it once was. However, it should be known that too much electromagnetic radiation can lead to eventual tumor growth (very high doses).
And, have I mentioned the actual effect it has on your sleep? Smartphones give off what is known as blue light, a type of light that studies suggest can, “inhibit the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and disrupt our circadian rhythms.” Hence the reasoning behind Apple’s new “Night Shift” feature. I am a huge fan of the new feature, although it’s probably best that we leave our phones on a nightstand or even in another room while sleeping, at least until more scientific research is done. And perhaps placing my smartphone out of reach will aid my gym efforts… (TBD).