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Cell Phones: A Reason That You’re So Tired All the Time

I will be the first to admit that I love my cell phone. It comes with me everywhere and is the perfect companion. My Blackberry–okay, more like Crackberry–helps me stay connected with friends and family, and allows me to access the Internet anywhere. It also probably affects my sleep…in a negative way.

As a college student, I do not get that much sleep to begin with, but having my loyal phone by my side is not helping me to feel rested. Most college students are in a similar situation; 90% of those between 18 and 29 years old sleep with their cell phones on or right next to their beds. (1) A study done in 2007 found that “radiation from mobile cell phones delays your ability to reach the deeper stages of sleep and causes headaches and confusion.” (4) The deep stages of sleep are the part of sleep that is necessary for your body to repair damage that occurred during the day and feel rejuvenated in the morning. (3) Having delayed and shortened deep stages of sleep takes a toll on your brain and body. (3)

The study also learned that this radiation triggers the brain’s stress system causing you to be more alert and have a more difficult time falling asleep. (4) Symptoms like confusion, sleeping problems and chronic headaches (3) seem silly when they can easily be prevented by moving your cell phone away from the area where you will be sleeping and turning it off.

In addition, a study in teens who tend to use their phones late at night showed that changes in their sleep caused by cell phone radiation can “trigger depression, mood swings, ADHD-like symptoms and personality changes, and impair concentration and academic performance.” (3)

Many students (almost 60%) text or talk right before going to sleep and often use their phones after turning off the lights. (2) Those who used their cell phone more than once a week after turning out the lights were five times more likely to report feeling tired, in one study. The later the students stayed awake with their phones, the more tired they felt in the morning. Many teens who experience these effects concentrate their phone use around midnight (2), and I think these patterns may also be true for college students.

Because of this, I am trying to take steps towards not using my cell phone for an hour before I go to sleep. That is challenging for me but most of the emails I get at night are junk anyway, and I do not need torespond to the important ones immediately. Text messages do not usually contain emergency messages and my tweets are not as clever late at night as they are during the day. This is one easy step you and I can both take to improve our sleep and feel more rested so that we can be awesome throughout the day.


1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/03/most-americans-sleep-with_n_704…
2. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1658166,00.html
3. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,324140,00.html
4. http://www.chickrx.com/questions/radiation-in-my-nation



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