“Sleeping has
been a struggle ever since I’ve had my smartphone,” laments 21-year-old Bo. He’s
owned a smartphone for 5 years now. In the same interview, Bo also admits he
feels like he couldn’t live without his handheld device. “I do banking with it.
It’s an essential part of my work he’s in digital marketing for a few months
now. I get to finish a lot of tasks using only it regardless of the location,
well, as long as there’s internet connection.”

When asked if
he brings his phone to bed, he answers with a laugh like he can’t believe the
question. “Of course!” was his ready answer. “Checking emails and browsing
through some of my social media accounts are my way of winding down at night.”

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Then and
there, I saw the problem. Bo’s one of the countless individuals who is losing
sleep because of their handheld gadgets.

The Smartphone Is A Slow Killer

The
smartphone is perhaps the most useful innovation we’ve had in years.

Unlike the
first mobile phones which only allowed us to do the basics like make a call,
send a text message or do emails, the smartphone is both business and pleasure
rolled into one. Many people conduct their work through their phones and find
entertainment – reading, going through social media like Facebook and Instagram
– with the very same tool. It’s no wonder 46%
of smartphone users say they couldn’t live without it.

But being
attached to your smartphone has one dire consequence, an end result that could lead
to your early death.

Scientific Backing

The use of
smartphones and other like devices has been associated with poorer sleep
quality by a recent
study done by a University of California research team.

In the said
undertaking, the team put into account over 600 individuals from around the
world who enrolled in an online app for heart health monitoring. These participants
unknowingly took part in the question-form study to avoid bias. From the data
they gathered, the researchers discovered that:

–      
The
average hours that all the study participants consumed for their smartphone use
throughout a 30-day period were 38.4 hours.

–      
Approximately
35% of those who spent less than the average smartphone screen time reported
having difficulty sleeping.

–      
42%
of those whose smartphone screen time reached and even exceeded the average
hours reported the same.

–      
Sleep
troubles and poor sleep quality were prevalent among those who used their
gadgets near or during bedtime.  

Furthermore,
while researchers found out that smartphone use was dominant during the daytime,
there were a significant number of study participants whose phone use was
greatest at night.

“We haven’t
really ruled out if these people’s inability to sleep was because of another
reason and that they only used their smartphones to pass the time,” the team’s lead
researcher admits.

Despite this
flaw, however, the team’s findings only cement what other previous studies have
concluded. For one, an undertaking
on the blue light spectrum and its connection to sleep difficulties stated that
blue light does disrupt the body’s melatonin production, melatonin being our
natural sleep-inducing hormone. Smartphones are fitted with blue lights.

Lack Of Sleep: A Disease Gateway

Medical
experts all agree that sleep is a “basic biologic need” of all living things. Being
deprived of a good night’s sleep – quantity and quality wise – brings about a
myriad of diseases and health risks like:

–      
Increase
in appetite resulting in obesity

–      
Metabolic
diseases

–      
Heart
illnesses

–      
Mental
or emotional health problems like depression

One sleep
doctor has this advice for insomniacs and those who generally have trouble
sleeping at night.

“Don’t use
your smartphones 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. This simple habit might
improve your sleep quality and help you sleep sooner.”

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