Contributors: Victoria Owens, Ashley Williams, Kent Whitfield, Andrea Kovacs, Kimmie Walker, Michelle Owens, Emily Brady, Nick Christensen
Many young adults use their cell phones or electronic devices to “help them sleep” by reading, listening to music, watching TV, etc. But did you know that when you try to use your cell phone to help fall asleep, you are actually making it harder?
New research from Iowa State University shows that smartphones could be hurting your health.
The study, which was published in a sleep medicine journal, shows that smartphone use during the day can affect how well people sleep.
According to the Iowa State study, those who spend more than two hours on their phone each day are more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep each night.
For the last 50 years, Americans have on average been getting less sleep, with 90 percent of them using electronics within an hour before going to bed, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Because of this, many college students can lose up to 46 minutes of sleep every night they use their phone.
Israel Cerda, a BYU-Idaho alumni said while attending school he would only sleep for about 4 hours because he would be on his phone for two hours after he finished his homework, which would usually be around midnight or one in the morning.
A recent study found that millennials check their phones 150 times a day, which is just over once every 5 waking minutes, according to KTNV.com.
What are professionals saying about the use of cell phones? They are associating the blue light a cell phone gives off with the problems people are facing with sleep. This means the blue light is keeping the body from producing the melatonin needed to fall asleep, according to psychologistworld.com. They have even found that young adults are more affected by the blue light from a cell phone than older adults.
However, blue lights are not inherently bad for you. Psychologist World said office workers who were exposed to blue light in the workplace became more alert and more positive while still being able to sleep at night. The problem with blue light occurs only when someone uses a device with a blue light before bed.
It’s not just cell phones causing sleep deprivation amongst young adults.
“A study by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that compared to reading a paper book, people who read from an e-book needed an additional 10 minutes to fall asleep,” according to the Harvard Business Review.
For those of you who love reading actual books, that is great news. You can read as many books as you want and it will not affect your sleeping pattern. But if you pick up a Kindle or a Nook, you are putting your sleep cycle in jeopardy.
There is a small hitch in the research though. Larry D. Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, said it is not necessarily the phones causing the problems, but the anxiety of the cell phone users.
Anxiety is a major factor for sleep loss. The more anxious a person is, the more likely they are to use their phone. The more they use their phone, the more they are exposed to blue light. The more blue light they are exposed to, the less they will sleep.