In today’s world, smartphones have almost become an extension of ourselves. They’re critical to staying in communication with coworkers, planning our schedules, reading the news, and connecting with new people. It’s important to remember, however, that the habits we develop around our phones can cause serious disruptions to our lives. Here are the different ways constant phone use can affect our wellbeing:
LED light interrupts sleep
Our bodies run on circadian rhythms, an internal clock that tells the body when to eat, sleep and wake up. These patterns are regulated by the sleep hormone, melatonin. The blue LED light from smartphone screens, however, has been shown to disrupt melatonin when used at night because it causes the brain to confuse the phone’s artificial light with daylight. This can throw circadian rhythms out of sync and make the brain think it should be awake, disrupting healthy sleep patterns.
Radiofrequency is believed to affect physical health
Cellphones give off radiofrequency waves which have been linked to serious health issues on the area of the body where the phones are located most often. For example, if the phone is typically used to make phone calls, these energy waves could cause brain tumors or cancers in the neck. Phones kept mostly in pockets, in comparison, have been linked to issues in the groin, whether that be a form of reproductive cancer like ovarian or testicular, or a sexual dysfunction like erectile dysfunction. While this research is fairly new, and therefore limited, serious associations have been drawn between phone usage and these issues.
Social media increases stress
Whether it’s feeling pressured while comparing yourself to friends or simply absorbing the stress of others, social media has been proven to increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Constant exposure to updates and alerts can keep the body’s natural adrenaline levels spiked and wear down your immune system, as well as your mental health.
How to distance yourself from your phone
- Charge it outside of your bedroom. Most people keep their phones charging on their bedside table– or, even worse, under their pillows– while they sleep. Instead, try keeping your chargers in another room overnight so you’re forced to leave it, and its distractions, far away. This should not only limit your nighttime exposure to damaging blue light, but also keep the constant alerts and stressful communication far away from your sleep routine.
- Install time-reviewing apps. Try downloading an app that will track and analyze the time you spend on certain phone activities. This will give you better insight into where you should cut down your usage and curb your bad habits. Try reviewing this at the end of every day in order to hold yourself accountable and set new goals or time limits each week.
- Turn off unnecessary notifications. Obviously, it’s difficult to completely distance yourself off from your phone nowadays, but you can cut yourself off from distracting notifications that interrupt your day. Try turning off alerts from unused apps or games that might draw you back to your device. You can also switch notification styles depending on the type of alert you’re receiving so you’re able to prioritize certain messages.
Whichever way you choose to do it, make sure you’re prioritizing your health instead of your phone for your current and future wellbeing.