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Cellphones blamed for poor sleep


Are you aware that taking your cellphone into the bedroom and into bed with you may be costing you a good night’s sleep? There have been numerous studies that illustrate that we are greatly affected by not only the stimulation from the screen, but the effects of the Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) on our immune system and hormone levels  . EMFs have been shown to cause a reduction in melatonin, as well as higher levels of serotonin – which are our key sleep and feel good hormones.

Sleep psychologist Dr Michael Hlavac, director of the sleep unit at Christchurch Hospital, said mobiles and other technological devices like iPads were best left outside the bedroom when preparing for a night’s rest.

His comments follow a study from Washington and LeeUniversity in the US, which linked excessive texting to sleep deprivation.

The study, carried out by psychology professor Karla Murdock, examined the sleep and texting patterns of 83 first-year university students. It found a higher number of daily texts was directly associated with an increase in sleep problems.

Two behavioural habits were suggested as culprits for this: students often felt pressured to reply to texts immediately, regardless of the time of day or night and the tendency of many students to sleep with phones nearby and therefore be woken by alerts from incoming texts.

Dr Hlavac said texting before bed was among a number of activities which could interfere with a person’s “sleep hygiene”.

“It’s things like watching TVs in the bed, playing on the computer or the laptop or iPad in bed, having a phone in bed or having a phone next to you so you get text messages.

“They’re all things which will tend to delay sleep onset and interfere with your ability of getting into a deep sleep early on in the night,” he said.

While he didn’t specifically quiz his patients about their texting habits, Dr Hlavac said it was highly likely that avid daytime texters would carry through to the night time.

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Photo credit: tracey r